In Lord Of The Flies, why did the boys chose Ralph as their leader in chapter one?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Ralph has been chosen as leader because he is "the golden boy," handsome and fair, and he appears as a leader since he's the one who blows the conch to summon the boys.

When the other boys run to where the conch has been sounded, they see before them a fair, tall, good-looking boy:

The being that had blown that, had sat waiting for them on the platform with the delicate thing balanced on his knees, was set apart.

While Piggy, to whom the boys trace intelligent remarks, could be a leader, he is heavy and has asthma, two traits which detract from the appearance of a leader. Jack, who marches the choir boys in with military precision and control, is an obvious leader; however, there is just a "certain something" about Ralph. There is poise about him that sets him apart; he is an attractive, fair-haired boy, and he holds the conch that has summoned all the boys. He looks like a leader. So, when Ralph asks who will be leader, someone shouts,

"Let him be chief with the trumpet-thing."

Hearing this, Ralph tries to be democratic by asking who wants Jack for chief. With compliance to the choir leader, and in "dreary obedience," the choir raises their hands. But, when Ralph asks who wants him to be the leader, every hand outside of the choir shoots up, except for Piggy's, which is raised begrudgingly.

So, Ralph counts the votes and announces, "I'm chief, then." It is at this point that Ralph, who has already recognized Jack as a potential foe, tells Jack, "The choir belongs to you, of course." Jack offers to have them be the hunters. 

Jack and Ralph smiled at each other with shy liking. The rest began to talk eagerly.

And so, the boys begin their new lives on the island with Ralph, the fair and golden boy, as their leader, and Jack, with his red hair and dark clothing and an intimidating manner, presiding over the hunters.

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Lord of the Flies

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