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In William Golding's allegory, Lord of the Flies, Ralph is life's golden boy, his Adam, who discovers the Garden of Eve on the island:
Here at last was the imagined but never fully realized place leaping into real life. Ralph's lips parted in a delighted smile and Piggy, taking this smile to himself as a mark of recognistion, laughed with pleasure.
"If it really is an island."
Ralph as leader
With his good looks and confidence, Ralph embodies the naturally born leader:
"I could swim when I was five. Daddy taught me. He's a commander in the Navy. When he get leave he'll come and rescue us....."
He gives commands immediately, telling Piggy, after he finishes his "baptism" as a leader in the lagoon, to get his clothes. He blows the conch and calls an assembly to count who is on the island and to assert his leadership by a vote.
Ralph as an everyman
With his inability to command at all the assemblies, it is apparent that there is a "cloud of imperfection" about Ralph with whom readers can identify as he lacks charisma and is inarticulate at times, making him a sort of everyman. But, like Adam, Ralph has his "fall" as he becomes drawn into the bloodlust of the hunt, an action that contributes--along with his leadership imperfections--to the boys' descent into savagery.
Ralph as representative of democracy
As the leader, Ralph can also symbolize democracy. He is the first to find the conch, although Piggy instructs him about its use. He employs the conch as one would the gavel at a public forum. Functioning by structure and order, Ralph strives to have these societal norms on the island and its inhabitants. He prioritizes as a democratic leader should, placing the universal needs first, such as the rescue fire and the building of shelters.
Also, in the democratic spirit, Ralph tries to protect the littl'uns and the vulnerable, such as Simon. Unlike the despotic Jack, Ralph is democratic in his leadership, as well. He has his counsel, Piggy, and his friend, Simon, whom he heeds and consults in various matters. Ralph recognizes that "Piggy can think" as he realizes his own shortcomings.
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