In "Lord of the Flies," what does Ralph represent allegorically?

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ophelious eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Hi there...interesting question.  I don't think it can be answered, though, as it is written.  An allegory is an entire story that conveys a meaning through its characters.  Think of a fairy tale.  The whole story represents something. In that way, an allegory is an extended metaphor where the story represents some bigger idea or concept.

As you can see, from this definition, Ralph couldn't be an allegory because he is a character in a story, not a story himself.  What you could mean is "What does Ralph represent symbolically."  A symbol is different than an allegory because a symbol is a device used inside a story to represent some greater concept or idea.  In this sense, Ralph represents civilization.  It is Ralph whose thinking and actions are largely based on logic.  It is Ralph who prioritizes the hut building and the latrines.  It is Ralph, ultimately, that seems most interested in getting back to civilization by getting them off that rock....as seen in his interest in keeping the fire going.  So Ralph could represent, as a symbol, "civilization." There are other options there, too.  Ralph as a symbol of morality, Ralph as a symbol of the outcast, Ralph as the symbol of the reason...but I think you get the idea. So, if a teacher gave you that question you should ask what they mean by "Ralph being an allegory."  I think that you will find it should really be "Ralph as a symbol." Good luck!
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Lord of the Flies

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