What are three quotes from Ralph in Lord of the Flies that show that he's a good leader?

One quote from Lord of the Flies that shows that Ralph is a good leader is when he says,

There aren't any grownups. We shall have to look after ourselves.

In this quote, Ralph acknowledges the group's dire situation. He is direct and forthright, making sure the boys understand that they must rely on themselves in order to survive. He immediately begins dividing the large group into smaller, task-focused groups.

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Interestingly, Ralph is recognized as not being the most obvious leader of the group from the beginning:

None of the boys could have found good reason for this; what intelligence had been shown was traceable to Piggy while the most obvious leader was Jack. But there was a stillness about Ralph as he sat that marked him out: there was his size, and attractive appearance; and most obscurely, yet most powerfully, there was the conch.

Ralph lacks the intelligence of Piggy or the natural leadership skills of Jack. Yet he demonstrates a "stillness," a calm demeanor that isn't easily shaken. This is a valuable trait in a leader, and the fact that he is larger than the other boys certainly improves his leadership standing in the group. When they emerge from the jungle, the boys immediately begin searching for an adult; in the absence of all adults, Ralph's size sets him apart as a potential protector for the group, many of whom are quite young.

Ralph also proves willing to recognize his mistakes and attempts to atone for his shortcomings:

Ralph, looking with more understanding at Piggy, saw that he was hurt and crushed. He hovered between the two courses of apology or further insult.

"Better Piggy than Fatty," he said at last, with the directness of genuine leadership, "and anyway, I'm sorry if you feel like that. Now go back, Piggy, and take names. That's your job."

It is Ralph's fault that the group begins calling Piggy by the nickname that he had shared with Ralph in confidence. Ralph realizes that he should not have divulged this information and apologizes for his actions. The ability to acknowledge fault and attempt to repair relationships is a quality which good leaders embrace. His "direct" form of leadership is effective in diffusing further conflict.

After a quick assessment of the island, it is Ralph who begins to organize the group into smaller divisions who can focus on their collective needs:

"So you see," said Ralph, "We need hunters to get us meat. And another thing."

He lifted the shell on his knees and looked round the sun-slashed faces.

"There aren't any grownups. We shall have to look after ourselves."

Ralph understands that surviving without the wisdom of adults is going to be a feat. He wants to be sure that the boys understand the gravity of their situation; they must depend on themselves if they are going to survive the wilderness. To do so, they will need to begin dividing the labor needed to complete daily tasks of living, particularly as they establish their camp. Ralph is forthright and direct as he begins dividing the large group into smaller, task-oriented groups.

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These are three quotes about Ralph. The first is from Chapter One:

This toy of voting was almost as pleasing as the conch. Jack started to protest but the clamor changed from the general wish for a chief to an election by acclaim of Ralph himself. None of the boys could have found good reason for this; what intelligence had been shown was traceable to Piggy while the most obvious leader was Jack. But there was a stillness about Ralph as he sat that marked him out: there was his size, and attractive appearance; and most obscurely, yet most powerfully, there was the conch. 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.

This quote is interesting, as it lays out the reasons why the boys would vote for Ralph over Piggy or Jack. Piggy certainly has the brains for the job, and all the best ideas on the island are often traced back to him; however, he lacks the appearance and the charisma, and most of the boys see him as a joke. Jack has the charisma and the experience, having been the head boy in his choir and being used to bossing around his fellow singers. Ralph’s distinguishing feature is essentially his maturity. He’s not reaching for authority or getting overly excited in the way that Jack is, so he reminds the young boys of the adults which had previously been in charge of them. Ralph is nearly unanimously voted in.

Ralph shaded his eyes and followed the jagged outline of the crags up toward the mountain. This part of the beach was nearer the mountain than any other that they had seen. ‘We’ll try climbing the mountain from here,’ he said. ‘I should think this is the easiest way. There’s less of that jungly stuff, and more pink rock. Come on.'

In this opening chapter, Ralph has an easy-going leadership style, and seems to naturally have an idea of where to lead and how to do it. Simon and Jack follow him easily up the mountain as they explore the area and get a sense of their surroundings. Ralph is a good leader here, not only because the boys trust in him at this moment, but because he explores the dangers of the island himself, rather than sending a delegation. Ralph shows time and again that he leads by example, as he will also be one of the main participants in building the shelters and organizing the camp.

From Chapter Five:

The time had come for the assembly and as he walked into the concealing splendors of the sunlight he went carefully over the points of his speech. There must be no mistake about this assembly, no chasing imaginary…

He lost himself in a maze of thoughts that were rendered vague by his lack of words to express them. Frowning, he tried again.

This meeting must not be fun, but business.

Ralph, thinking to himself before he meets with the boys to reprimand their lack of discipline around camp, considers the seriousness of his position and their situation. He is one of the few boys who understands the importance of these meetings, while everyone else now sees them as a joke. This is why Ralph is the leader the boys need, but unfortunately, starting from this chapter, he is not the one they choose to follow.

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Below are three quotes from Ralph that show his leadership capabilities in the novel, Lord of the Flies.

  • "My father's in the navy. He said there aren't any unknown islands left. He says the Queen has a big room filled with maps and all the islands in the world are drawn there. So, the Queen's got a picture of this island... And sooner or later a ship will put in here... So you see, sooner or later, we'll be rescued." (Chapter 2, p. 35)
  • "We've got to have special people for looking after the fire. Any day there may be a ship out there--... and if we have a signal going they'll come and take us off. And another thing. We ought to have more rules. Where the conch is, that's a meeting. The same up here as down there." (Chapter 2, p. 39)
  • "We've got to talk about this fear and decide there's nothing to it. I'm frightened myself sometimes; only, that's nonsense. Like bogies. Then, when we've decided, we can start again and be careful about things like the fire... And be happy." (Chapter 5, p. 74)

 

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