Two separate illustrations of an animal head and a fire on a mountain

Lord of the Flies

by William Golding
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How is Ralph important to Lord of the Flies by William Golding and what does he represent?

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Ralph is a key figure in William Golding's Lord of the Flies for multiple reasons:

  • He is the protagonist of the novel.  Although the novel is written in third-person omniscient, much of the novel is seen from his perspective. 
  • Ralph is one of the 'older' boys.  He looks out...

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Ralph is a key figure in William Golding's Lord of the Flies for multiple reasons:

  • He is the protagonist of the novel.  Although the novel is written in third-person omniscient, much of the novel is seen from his perspective. 
  • Ralph is one of the 'older' boys.  He looks out for the littluns and tries to protect them.
  • He is elected chief by the boys and uses the conch in meetings to maintain order.
  • Ralph represents good in the novel. He tries to maintain 'civilization' in the camp, creating rules about shelter, keeping the fire lit, and where to use the restroom on the beach.  In a Freudian analysis of the novel, Ralph represents the ego, creating the fine balance between the raw, naturalistic id (Jack) and the superego (Piggy) which values moderation and rules. 
  • Ralph stands up to Jack and his hunters after they let the fire go out on the mountain.  Ralph eventually becomes 'Public Enemy #1' and is chased by the hunters through the burning forest.
  • Ralph collapses on the beach after being chased, and he is the first one to see man from the ship.
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