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One quote shows Ralph's idealism while on the island. He firmly believes in the essential goodness of the boys, even after Simon and Piggy die. He also attempts to make life on the island reflect what he remembers of the society from which they came. At one point he dreams of a cottage in which his family once lived, where wild ponies would visit at their walls. He remembers:
When you went to bed there was a bowl of cornflakes with sugar and cream. And the books-they stood on the shelf by the bed, leaning together with always two or three laid flat on top because he had not bothered to put them back properly...Everything was all right; everything was good-humored and friendly.
These recollections of the peaceful, contented life he had lived before the island are what he bases his leadership on. He tries to re-create that sense of peace with the boys, but Jack and his hunters destroy that with violence and cruelty.
Ralph is also concerned with maintaining some kind of hygiene and cleanliness while on the island, connected to his idea of maintaining order and some semblance of society. While examining his ragged fingernails and dirty clothes, Ralph realizes that the boys on this island are moving further away from rationality, and into the realm of savagery and chaos. As he looks at the other boys, he observes
Not one of them was an obvious subject for a shower, and yet—hair, much too long, tangled here and there, knotted round a dead leaf or a twig; faces cleaned fairly well by the process of eating and sweating but marked in less accessible angles with a kind of shadow; clothes, worn away, stiff like his own with sweat, put on, not for decorum or comfort but out of custom; the skin of the body, scurfy with brine—
He discovered with a little fall of the heart that these were the conditions he took as normal now and that he did not mind.
This revelation is a reflection of the boys’ increasing loss of identity. The longer they remain on the island, the farther away from their civilized selves they move. Ralph is the only one that longs for a bath, haircut, and manicure. Thus he is the only one who notices this descent into an almost animal-like state.
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