Lord of the Flies Questions and Answers
by William Golding

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What is Ralph's personality in Lord of the Flies?

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Gretchen Mussey eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Ralph is depicted as a handsome, athletic adolescent, who is elected to be the leader of the boys on the uninhabited tropical island. Ralph is a rather conservative boy and is a proponent of civilization. He is also a charismatic, sympathetic individual, who assumes the leadership role and does his best to cultivate a civil society. Despite his efforts, the boys gradually descend into savagery and choose to follow Jack. Ralph does his best to challenge Jack and continually argues with him when he neglects to follow the agreed-upon tasks, interrupts assemblies, and threatens the other boys. Ralph courageously defends Piggy and the littluns but struggles with his confidence as conditions on the island rapidly deteriorate. Despite his failure to establish a civil society, Ralph bravely challenges Jack and demonstrates his natural leadership skills by accepting responsibility and protecting defenseless boys like Piggy. Overall, Ralph is a reliable, hard-working boy, who possesses natural leadership skills and courageously faces challenges head-on. He does not back down to Jack and reveals his determination to stay alive by avoiding Jack's band of savages toward the end of the novel.

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mrerick eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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It's probably also important to note that Ralph didn't necessarily want his leadership role.  He was given it simply by being the one to blow the conch in the first place.  There are instances throughout the early part of the novel that suggest Ralph would much rather be one of the boys out playing instead of trying to play the part of the responsible person.

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Jamie Wheeler eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Ralph is charismatic and a natural leader. He is empathetic and observant and a problem-solver. For example, he tells the boys, "We can help them to find us. If a ship comes near the island they may not notice us. So we must make smoke on top of the mountain. We must make a fire." Ralph tries to assess problems intelligently and not emotionally, asking for example, "What was the sensible thing to do? " His friendliness and logic make him a natural choice to assume a leadership role.

For more on Ralph and other character's in Golding's novel, please visit the link below.

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