In Lord of the Flies, does Ralph strive for all the boys to have a good time on the island?

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robertwilliam eNotes educator| Certified Educator

At first, Ralph certainly does place importance on having fun: right at the start of the first assembly, he tells the boys:

“While we’re waiting we can have a good time on this island.”
He gesticulated widely.
“It’s like in a book.”
At once there was a clamor.
“Treasure Island–”
“Swallows and Amazons–”
“Coral Island–”
Ralph waved the conch.
“This is our island. It’s a good island. Until the grownups come to fetch us we’ll have fun.”

Later, after climbing the mountain, Ralph has slightly rethought his main plan for the boys' time on the island. There are now two priorities, he says...

“Now we come to the most important thing. I’ve been thinking. I was thinking while we were climbing the mountain.” He flashed a conspiratorial grin at the other two. “And on the beach just now. This is what I thought. We want to have fun. And we want to be rescued.”

He certainly talks the talk. Yet, the more you read the novel, the more it becomes clear that Ralph doesn't actually deliver fun. Jack does that: the thrill of hunting, the adrenalin and glamour of the boys' dancing, and the meat are all much more fun than Ralph's signal fire. And this is eventually what leads the boys - along, of course, with Jack's perceived physical power, and therefore, a greater sense of safety - to go off with Jack and leave Ralph.

Hope it helps!

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Lord of the Flies

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