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Lord of the Flies

by William Golding

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How does Ralph react to no adults on the island in Lord of the Flies?

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Ralph initially reacts to the absence of adults on the island by enjoying his newfound freedom, doing handstands, swimming, and playing. However, once the other boys gather, Ralph begins to take on a leadership role, partly by chance, and starts organizing the group and thinking about their survival needs. He uses the conch to assemble the boys and initiate a form of government.

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As Lord of the Flies opens, Ralph is by himself on the beach and is soon joined by Piggy. Piggy convinces Ralph that there are no adults on the island. Ralph is content to behave as most twelve-year-old boys would. He does handstands, takes his clothes off, swims in the lagoon, and lies on the beach and covers himself partially with sand. He is enjoying the environment of the "coral island"; he is probably dreaming of the adventures a boy can have on a deserted island.

Piggy prods him a couple of times to try to begin finding the other boys, but Ralph has no interest. Ralph discovers the conch, but Piggy is the one who suggests it can be used to call the others, although he credits Ralph for the idea even as he suggests it. When the other boys appear, Ralph is the first to suggest that the boys elect a chief. Ralph wins the "election," although he has really displayed no leadership abilities or special intelligence. The qualities that work in his favor are "his size, and attractive appearance, and most obscurely, yet most powerfully, there was the conch." Ralph becomes leader by a quirk of fate more than anything else. He is not naturally inclined to leadership; he likes to have fun and goof off just like other boys. Piggy is the one who possesses the most intelligence, but his appearance disqualifies him from leadership. Jack is "the most obvious leader." As Shakespeare said, "Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them." In Ralph's case, he does nothing at first to seek his high position; rather, greatness is thrust upon him.

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As soon as Ralph realizes that there are no adults, he starts to try to act in a responsible way.  He starts to try to set up an organized "government."  He starts to think about what they need to do to survive.

For example, Ralph decides that they need to find out how many other kids are on the island.  When Piggy finds the conch, they use it to do so.  In the resulting assembly, Ralph starts to try to organize their new "society."

However, he doesn't do this stuff right away.  He goes swimming first -- until they find the conch.

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In Lord of the Flies, what was Ralph's reaction to the idea that there were no grown ups on the island?

Ralph is utterly delighted at first. He takes off his clothes, does a hand-stand, and goes for a swim. Like most boys of his age, Ralph sees the absence of parental supervision as a great opportunity to have fun and do whatever he wants. Thanks to the prodding of Piggy, however, Ralph soon comes back down to earth. There are things to be done. Ralph comes to realize that rules and order must be established if the boys are going to survive on the island. Ralph is elected by the other boys to be their chief, not so much because he has great leadership skills, but simply because no one else really fits the bill. Piggy, though intelligent, is made fun of by the other boys and wouldn't be taken seriously. Jack may be overly domineering and violent. The fact that the boys don't elect him as leader at such an early stage might suggest that there's something about his character that disqualifies him from leadership.

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In Lord of the Flies, what was Ralph's reaction to the idea that there were no grown ups on the island?

Lord of the Flies by William Golding is the narrative of a group of male adolescents who have been stranded on an island in the Pacific Ocean. It was published in 1954.  At the time, it was not much of what one would refer to as a success. However, over time, it achieved the recognition of making both the board's list and the reader's list of Modern Library 100 Best Novels. It has also been adapted into film three times.

The story begins with the introduction of Ralph and "the fat boy." They are making their way toward a beach through the heavy vegetation of a jungle. It becomes apparent that they are survivors of an airplane accident. As they interact, they begin to question if there are any other survivors from the planeload of young boys that were being evacuated.

As soon as Ralph realizes that the only adults on board the plane were sitting in areas that fairly ensured that they could not have survived the wreck of the plane, and it's subsequently being washed out to sea, he becomes giddy with the knowledge. He does a handstand right in the middle of the swept-away plane's trench. They are on an island, with no grown ups to rule over them. The possibilities far outweigh any drawbacks at that time.

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In Lord of the Flies, what is the fair boy's attitude when he realizes that there may be no grown ups on the island?

At the beginning of the novel, the boys crash-land on an uninhabited tropical island and Piggy attempts to keep up with Ralph as he walks towards the beach. When Piggy mentions that there are probably no grown-ups on the island, Ralph seems relatively unconcerned and begins to act silly by standing on his head. After Ralph tells Piggy that he doesn't believe any adults are on the island, Golding writes,

The fair boy said this solemnly; but then the delight of a realized ambition overcame him. In the middle of the scar he stood on his head and grinned at the reversed fat boy (7).

Ralph's response indicates that he is excited to be unsupervised on the tropical island, where he is free to behave how he pleases without being chastised or punished by any adults. Ralph's initial feelings of joy and excitement quickly dissipate when he discovers the responsibilities attached to being in a position of authority without the help of any adult influence. As the novel progresses, Ralph begs for guidance from the adult world and wishes that there were grown-ups on the island to maintain order.

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In Lord of the Flies, what is the fair boy's attitude when he realizes that there may be no grown ups on the island?

Piggy asks, "Aren't there any grownups at all?"

"I don't think so."  The fair boy said this solemnly; but then the delight of a realized ambition overcame him.  In the middle of the scared land he stood on his head and grinned at the reversed fat boy."

The "fair boy" we soon learn is Ralph.  He is excited about the prospects of being in a situation where there are no adults to tell him what to do.

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