Lord of the Flies Questions and Answers
by William Golding

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Who is a better leader in the novel The Lord of the Flies, Jack or Ralph?

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Gretchen Mussey eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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One can argue for either character in regards to who is the better leader. It is my opinion that Ralph is the better leader throughout the novel. Towards the end of the novel, Jack successfully unites most of the boys through promises of meat, but also uses fear and intimidation to gain their support. However, Ralph is the first person to unite the castaway boys and establish rules. It is Ralph, not Jack, who is elected as leader. Ralph displays positive leadership skills that include establishing important routines and tasks that increase the boys' chance of survival and rescue. Ralph is both patient and stern depending on the situation and exercises good judgement during times of adversity. Ralph is focused on the important tasks that ensure the boys' survival while Jack is preoccupied with hunting and swimming. Unlike Jack, who is ruthless towards certain boys, Ralph shows some sympathy towards weaker characters like Simon, Piggy, and the littluns. Ralph advocates equality amongst the boys while Jack's totalitarian leadership enforces rules based his liking. Had Jack not undermined Ralph's leadership, Simon and Piggy would have survived, and the boys might have been rescued when the ship passed the island in Chapter 4.

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