In Lord of the Flies, how much do you think Ralph is to blame for what goes wrong on the island?  

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Ralph's inability to enforce rules and form a cohesive group focused on the necessities of survival and rescue played a significant role in the demise of civility on the island. Ralph was unable to effectively impose consequences for breaking rules and not following through with tasks which allowed Jack to gradually influence the boys to dismiss the agreed upon assignments. Ralph also gave Jack control of his own group, the hunters, which encouraged Jack to seek further control. Ralph also never punishes Jack for his disrespectful behavior. He allows Jack to push the boundaries of his authority which creates a situation where Jack can openly defy Ralph's commands. In addition to Ralph's lack of authority, he does not provide the boys with any type of positive reinforcement. He gives them no incentive to complete the tasks which encourages the boys to look toward a seemingly more sympathetic, fun leader in Jack. Also, there are several scenes throughout the novel when Ralph himself engages in savage behavior. He becomes enthralled in the opportunity to kill a pig when he joins Jack's hunting expedition and willingly participates in Simon's murder. Ralph's uncivil behavior portrays him in a negative light, and further encourages the boys to act immorally on the island. Ralph's lack of leadership is a major reason as to why the situation on the island decays.

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Lord of the Flies

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