Please describe three character traits of Ralph in William Golding's Lord of the Flies. Thank you so much!

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Lori Steinbach eNotes educator| Certified Educator


Lord of the Flies, by William Golding, is set on a tropical island; its characters are all young (five or so to thirteen or so) boys who were stranded here without any adult supervision after a plane crash. One of the four main characters in the novel is Ralph.

The first thing we learn about Ralph, unfortunately, is not a good thing. He is not particularly interested in anyone else. The first person he meets on the island is Piggy, and the first thing Ralph does is try to distance himself from him. It is true that Piggy is not a particularly appealing young man. He is fat, wears thick glasses, suffers from asthma, cannot swim, and is suffering some diarrhea from eating too much fruit. Nevertheless, when Piggy introduces himself, Ralph does not even do the courteous thing (which he certainly knows, as a proper English schoolboy) and respond in kind.  Piggy "waited to be asked his name in turn but this proffer of acquaintance was not made; the fair boy called Ralph smiled vaguely, stood up, and began to make his way once more toward the lagoon."  Ralph is not interested in learning any of the other boys' names, either, and he continues to disrespect Piggy until he realizes he needs Piggy's help later in the novel.

Ralph is also an ineffectual leader. It is clear that he looks like he has all the necessary attributes of a leader, because the boys want him to be their leader within minutes of seeing him for the first time. In reality, though he has the physical characteristics and ideas of a leader, Ralph is not able to motivate the boys to follow him. They attend his meetings, but they will not help him build shelter or keep the fire going, the two best ideas Ralph has. Jack does not have Ralph's pure motives and heart but is a more effective leader.

Despite these faults, Ralph is able to get along with everyone on the island. The little boys love him, despite their unwillingness to help him, and the older boys treat him with some sense of respect. He even gets along, most of the time, with Jack, the boy who eventually sets himself up in direct opposition to Ralph's leadership. It is obvious to Ralph that Jack does not like him, and he even asks Jack why he hates him; however, until the last chapter or so of the novel, Ralph does not appear to actively dislike Jack. 

Ralph is the first boy the leaders meet, and he is the boy who, while running for his life, is the first to meet the naval commander who will save them. Despite his shortcomings, Ralph is the central character of this novel because he is the kind of person everyone knows or has met. 

edecent | Student

3 character traits that ralph has are being brave, fair, and charismatic hope i helped...

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Lord of the Flies

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