How does Ralph change in Lord of the Flies?
Ralph changes from an innocent boy to one who has seen too much. He is a symbol of civilization, and by the end he has been lost.
When the story begins, Ralph is unsure of himself and playful. Before long, he meets up with Piggy and since Piggy is a follower, Ralph becomes a de-facto leader. When he finds and blows the conch, the boys cannot imagine another leader. He seems like he should be the leader, because he is handsome and imbued with power from the conch.
Ralph has a “stillness” that sets him apart from the others. He is the finder and the blower of the conch, but has a quiet dignity that makes others follow him.
The being that had blown that, had sat waiting for them on the platform with the delicate thing balanced on his knees, was set apart. (ch 1)
Ralph acts very little-boyish at the beginning of the story. He starts the name Piggy, and he finds the conch because it’s pretty. He keeps the others from calling him Fatty, and he listens to Piggy’s ideas. Ralph also has some good ideas, like voting for a leader and drawing a map. He begins to show intelligence, wisdom, and leadership.
When Jack tries for a coup and breaks the boys into factions, what little civilization Ralph has managed to generate on the island is threatened. Ralph does not play Jack’s game. He refuses to create two warring tribes. Yet Ralph cannot control Jack, and the damage he causes to the boys and the island.
Ralph is the first to be found by the rescuers. His reaction is an example of how different he has become. He is no longer the playful, self-assured boy. Life has taken a dark turn for him.
The tears began to flow and sobs shook him. He gave himself up to them now for the first time on the island; great, shuddering spasms of grief that seemed to wrench his whole body. (ch 9)
Ralph cries for a loss of innocence. He cries because he knows that what happened to those boys on that island was a breakdown of civilization into savagery, and he couldn’t stop it.