Lord Of The Flies
By William Golding It has taken man many thousands of years to evolve from an ape. Many geniuses knowledge was passed down through the generations to allow civilization to occur. Humans are animals, with barbarous instincts and a predisposition to violence. One can question if we are really civilized at all. This question is raised in the novel Lord of the Flies by William Golding. The protagonist, Ralph, as leader of the boys, goes face to face with a deteriorating society and must deal with his people's problems. Throughout the novel Ralph is mean, however he also shows intelligence and leadership. First, Ralph communicates his cruelty by telling the group to call a fat boy "Piggy". even after he had been helped by him. [Piggy] said confidentially to Ralph, "'I don't care what they call me, so long as they don't call me what they used to call me at school.' Ralph was faintly interested. 'What was that?' The fat boy glanced over his shoulder, then leaned toward Ralph. He whispered. 'They used to call me 'Piggy". .. Ralph ignores this gesture of friendliness by mocking him and revealing to the others what was told to him in confidence. More compellingly, by participating in the murder of Simon, Ralph displays meanness. The narrator explains, "'Piggy,' [Ralph said].'Uh?' [Piggy replied]. 'That was Simon,' [Ralph said]. 'You said that before.' 'That was murder.'. . . 'But we were [in the dance and we killed Simon! All of us!'" Ralph commits the worst possible atrocity, taking a human life. Although acting mean, more importantly Ralph also exhibits intelligence. First, Ralph reveals prowess by deciding to have a chief. Ralph lifted the conch and tells the boys, "'Seems to me we ought to have a chief to decide things'"(19). Ralph realizes that organization will be necessary to survive. Second, when he thinks of making a fire, Ralph projects talent. Ralph enlightens the boys, "'There's another thing. We can help them to find us. If a ship comes near the island they may not notice us. So we must make smoke on top of the mountain. We must make a fire'"(33). Ralph knows that they will have to take an active role in becoming rescued. Last, Ralph unveils intelligence when he can understand the horror of many of the occurrences on the island. The narrator describes, "Ralph looked at him dumbly. For a moment he had a fleeting picture of the strange glamour that had once invested the beaches. But the island was scorched up like dead wood-Simon was dead-and Jack had. . . . 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. His voice rose under the black smoke before the burning wreckage of the island; and infected by that emotion the other little boys began to shake and sob too. And in the middle of them, with filthy body, matted hair, and unwiped nose, Ralph wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of man's heart, and the fall through the air of the true, wise friend called Piggy"(186-187). Ralph conceives that man enters the world with an immense potential for evil. Despite his mean side, Ralph overcomes this by intelligence and leadership. First, Ralph demonstrates charisma by getting elected chief. The narrator relates, "Ralph raised a hand for silence. 'All right. Who wants Jack for chief?' With dreary obedience the choir raised their hands. 'Who wants me?' Every hand outside the choir except Piggy's was raised immediately. Then Piggy, too, raised his hand grudgingly into the air. Ralph counted. 'I'm chief then.' The circle of boys broke into applause"(19). Ralph has the skill to become leader. More obviously, when he continues to rule over the boys until late in the novel, Ralph establishes a strong personality. The narrator states, "[Jack says] 'Who thinks Ralph oughtn't to be chief?' He looked expectantly at the boys ranged round, who had frozen. Under the palms there was deadly silence. 'Hands up,' said Jack strongly, 'whoever wants Ralph not to be chief?' The silence continued, breathless and heavy and full of shame. Slowly the red drained from Jack's cheeks, then came back with a painful rush. He licked his lips and turned his head at an angle, so that his gaze avoided embarrassment of linking with another's eye. 'How many think-' His voice tailed off. The hands that held the conch shook'"(117-118). Ralph remained in control even after a strong challenge from an influential enemy. Most obviously, Ralph presents leadership by stepping forward even after they get back The narrator remarks, "The officer looked past [Ralph] to the group of painted boys. 'Who's boss here?' 'I am,' Ralph said loudly. A little boy who wore the remains of an extraordinary black cap on his red hair and who carried the remains of a pair of spectacles at his waist, started forward, then changed his mind and stood still"(186). Even Ralph's main rival realized that Ralph was the better leader. In the novel " Lord of the Flies" by William Golding, Ralph expresses meanness, yet he also has intelligence and leadership. In this novel, the characters are saved by the intervention of the adult world, and without this they would have been doomed. However, children always have and always will look to adults for guidance. This is how civilization is passed on, for as long as we have parents with morals, society will be at a high level.