What does Ralph represent in Lord of the Flies?

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Kristen Lentz | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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In Lord of the Flies, Ralph is closely linked to the conch throughout the novel.  Both the boy and the shell come to represent law and order.  Ralph is originally elected chief, because of his control of the conch which sets Ralph apart from the other boys.  Later, Ralph uses the conch to establish order in the meeting.  He holds it up and dictates that the boys will use it like "hands-up" at school to take turns when speaking.  Ralph establishes other rules for the benefit of the boys like keeping fresh water available, using the bathroom away from the fruit trees, building huts, and keeping the signal fire lit.  Ralph's main objective is rescue and a return to civilization.  As the other boys descend into savagery, Ralph struggles to remain true to himself and fights to keep the rescue signal lit up until the very end.