In Lord of the Flies, what does Ralph say about why rules are important to him?Why are the rules important to Ralph? It's something that Ralph says.

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Kristen Lentz eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As the chief of the tribe of stranded boys, Ralph knows it is in his and the other boys' best interest to maintain some semblance of order while they are in the island.  At the second tribal meeting, Ralph emphasizes the importance of maintaining decorum as he reminds the boys:

"There aren't any grownups. We shall have to look after ourselves" (33). 

Immediately following this statement, Ralph institutes the power of the conch as a means of regulating tribe meetings and taking turns.  Ralph feels his role as chief keenly, knowing that the boys will have to act responsibly to take care of one another.  Later after the boys run off to make a signal fire in haphazard fashion, Ralph reminds the boys of the importance of keeping rules and order:

"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" (42). 

Ralph firmly believes that "the rules are the only thing we've got" (91).  He connects keeping order with maintaining the signal fire, and the signal fire is their only chance of rescue.  After the meeting in chapter six in which Jack mocks keeping the rules, Ralph voices his worries to Piggy: "We shan't keep the fire going. We'll be like animals. We'll never be rescued" (92).  Ultimately, the rules are crucial to Ralph; they represent both his lifeline to civilization and any opportunity for rescue.

gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As the elected leader of the boys, Ralph understands the importance of rules in order to maintain a civil society and eventually be rescued from the uninhabited island. Ralph believes that creating rules will help organize the group of boys and motivate them to complete necessary tasks that will increase their chances of rescue. Unfortunately, Jack and his hunters begin to neglect the rules and Ralph fails to properly punish them, which makes the situation worse. In chapter 5, Ralph holds an assembly to address the fact that none of the boys are completing the tasks agreed upon during the previous assemblies.

Towards the end of the assembly meeting, Jack and Piggy begin to argue while Piggy is holding the conch and Ralph intervenes by telling Jack that he is breaking the rules. When Jack says "Who cares?" Ralph responds by saying,

"Because the rules are the only thing we've got!" (70)

Jack and his hunters then leave the assembly unexcused, and Ralph explains to Piggy why he refuses to blow the conch. Ralph tells Piggy,

"If I blow the conch and they don't come back; then we've had it. We shan't keep the fire going. We'll be like animals. We'll never be rescued" (71)

Essentially, Ralph knows that if the boys continue not to follow the rules, the signal fire will not remain lit and their chances of rescue will diminish. Ralph also knows that the boys will quickly descend into savagery by following Jack and disobeying the rules.  

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Lord of the Flies

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