In "Lord of the Flies, what are Ralph's motivations?Defend and/or criticize Ralph’s actions as leader.Did he contribute to the tragedy in any way? Could he have acted to prevent any of the...

In "Lord of the Flies, what are Ralph's motivations?

Defend and/or criticize Ralph’s actions as leader.

Did he contribute to the tragedy in any way? Could he have acted to prevent any of the deaths? What would you have done differently in his situation?

Expert Answers
ladyvols1 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Ralph is the first character we meet in The Lord of The Flies.  He is the model of a leader.  He is bright, athletic, the “golden boy.”  He is chosen as leader and tries to lead as a civilized Englishman would.  He attempts to organize the boys for the path of civilized survival until the rescue arrives.  Shelters must be built, food must be found, and most of all a fire must be built and maintained so that a rescue ship can see their smoke.Things begin to fall apart.  Jack wants to hunt.  He wants meat and he wants leadership.  Ralph is increasingly intimidated by Jack.  He continues to back down and chaos continues to grow.  Did Ralph contribute to the tragedy?  Ralph was naïve.  He thought right would just naturally win out but by the end he was no better than a hunted pig.  He could have acted to prevent the deaths, but he was paralyzed by fear.  If finding myself in the situation, I would probably try to act like Ralph only with more courage and discipline.  Yet, we never know how we will react until we are in that situation.

sofialawliet | Student

“But there was stillness in about Ralph as he sat that marked him out: there was his size, and attractive appearance; and most obscurely, yet most powerfully, there was the conch.”In the first place, Ralph was chosen to be the leader because of his captivating appearance and because he was the one who blew the conch. He is a model of leadership. He shows a representation of a civilized person, that each one of boys should retain like how he hang on to his civility until the end. “Cause I’ve got sense.” His motivations were mainly getting to a civilized course of being rescued and surviving. He constantly tells the boys about keeping the fire going until rescue comes. Shelters must be built and food must be found as what Ralph as a chief orders. He gets most of his ideas from Piggy; he is always by his side. But he never stands up for Piggy, because he fears jack. A chief like him shouldn’t fear Jack and should stand against Jack, because he knows what is right. What Jack is doing isn’t completely right except for the fact of hunting pigs, because they need food. But Jack gets addicted to hunting pigs and makes it the most important thing to do, but it is not, getting rescued is the mainly the important thing to do. Ralph should have controlled Jack because he was the chief; he has the right to control him or to make him stop to say that’s enough. He was continuously intimidated by Jack, he should have stayed strong and fight because that’s what chief’s does. Ralph ought to talk to the boys and explain why it is the right thing to do and not just order them to do this and that. He must have told them that what they could freely hunt pig but not all the time. There is a time for hunting, playing, building shelters, watching the fire and playing. Ralph was always wants to make the boys do their work that’s why they don’t listen to him because they are still kids and they want to have fun. Sometimes playing by the rules is boring especially if you don’t include fun. The boys are having fun hunting because they can release their inner wildness and primitiveness. Ralph has contributed into tragedy especially when he allowed the killing of Simon happen which worsened everything more. Because then Jack’s tribe since then knew that they could kill anyone and they have become more primitive than ever. If Ralph hadn’t let the ritual take over him, Simon would have been alive and everyone would have known who the beastie was. But I couldn’t blame Ralph because he was naïve, he doesn’t clearly know everything besides Jack is older than him and he is just a 12 year old kid. He could have acted to prevent any of the deaths but he was paralyzed by dread. If I was in his situation I would have done what he did but be more courageous and disciplined. I would have intimidated Jack and not let him intimidate me. But he is immature, we will never know until we are in his situation.


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Lord of the Flies

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