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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

 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

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. 


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