In William Golding's Lord of the Flies, why does Simon continuously ask Ralph to be chief?  Ralph becoming chief was mentioned in chapters 1 through 4. Also, In chapter 5, "Beast from Water",...

In William Golding's Lord of the Flies, why does Simon continuously ask Ralph to be chief? 

Ralph becoming chief was mentioned in chapters 1 through 4. Also, In chapter 5, "Beast from Water", Simon urges Ralph to take up the responsibility of being chief once again as can be seen from the quotes below:

"Go on being chief."

"Go on being chief."

Is there any significance in this repetition?

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tamarakh's profile pic

Tamara K. H. | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

In William Golding's Lord of the Flies, the first time the question of Ralph becoming chief is raised is in chapter 1, and he is subsequently elected. However, it doesn't seem that Simon particularly voices his opinion in this chapter. Instead, Roger is the one who speaks up about having a vote to elect the chief rather than giving the office to Jack.

Nevertheless, in chapter 5, Simon certainly does twice repeat the phrase to Ralph, "Go on being chief." In chapter 5, the group has just had a conflict concerning whether or not to prioritize actions that can help get them rescued or to prioritize hunting, especially hunting the beast. The end result is that the hunters go off with Jack while a few of Ralph's supporters stay with Ralph.

Since Simon is later murdered, it's possible Simon's encouragement of Ralph being chief foreshadows upcoming consequences. Golding's use of repetition could be seen as a way of calling into question the rightness of Simon's support of Ralph as a leader. While Simon can't truly be called wrong in choosing Ralph as a leader, it is true that Ralph has his weaknesses as a leader. For example, Ralph admires Piggy's ability to think yet doesn't solicit Piggy as his assistant. Just like all US Presidents rely on their cabinets to advise them, so should Ralph rely on advisers. Ralph's weaknesses as a chief lead to loss of control over the group and ultimately Simon's murder.

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