Ralph is the athletic, charismatic protagonist of Lord of the Flies. Elected the leader of the boys at the beginning of the novel, Ralph is the primary representative of order, civilization, and productive leadership in the novel. While most of the other boys initially are concerned with playing, having fun, and avoiding work, Ralph sets about building huts and thinking of ways to maximize their chances of being rescued. For this reason, Ralph’s power and influence over the other boys are secure at the beginning of the novel. However, as the group gradually succumbs to savage instincts over the course of the novel, Ralph’s position declines precipitously while Jack’s rises. Eventually, most of the boys except Piggy leave Ralph’s group for Jack’s, and Ralph is left alone to be hunted by Jack’s tribe. Ralph’s commitment to civilization and morality is strong, and his main wish is to be rescued and returned to the society of adults. In a sense, this strength gives Ralph a moral victory at the end of the novel, when he casts the Lord of the Flies to the ground and takes up the stake it is impaled on to defend himself against Jack’s hunters.
In the earlier parts of the novel, Ralph is unable to understand why the other boys would give in to base instincts of bloodlust and barbarism. The sight of the hunters chanting and dancing is baffling and distasteful to him. As the novel progresses, however, Ralph, like Simon, comes to understand that savagery exists within all the boys. Ralph remains determined not to let this savagery -overwhelm him, and only briefly does he consider joining Jack’s tribe in order to save himself. When Ralph hunts a boar for the first time, however, he experiences the exhilaration and thrill of bloodlust and violence. When he attends Jack’s feast, he is swept away by the frenzy, dances on the edge of the group, and participates in the killing of Simon. This firsthand knowledge of the evil that exists within him, as within all human beings, is tragic for Ralph, and it plunges him into listless despair for a time. But this knowledge also enables him to cast down the Lord of the Flies at the end of the novel. Ralph’s story ends semi-tragically: although he is rescued and returned to civilization, when he sees the naval officer, he weeps with the burden of his new knowledge about the human capacity for evil.
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Lord of the Flies: Compare and Contrast Ralph and Jack Essay
1239 WordsAug 22nd, 20125 Pages
Lord of the Flies has many meanings to it that are represented through the characters and their feelings. When comparing the characters in the Lord of The Flies, you can see the obvious change in most of them from the beginning of the book to the end. The two main characters are Ralph, the protagonist and Jack, the antagonist. Ralph and Jack both have different qualities and beliefs that define each of them completely and at times make them both alike in many ways. They both represent what we are and what they were, Civilized and Savage.
Ralph and Jack begin the novel with similar beliefs, both wanting to implement rules. “I agree with Ralph. We’ve got to have rules and obey them.” But then the wanting of power from Jack comes to- Ralph…show more content…
He assigns Samneric the job of keeping the fire alive, which to Ralph is the most important one, Jack and the choir as the hunters, and piggy as a care-taker of the littluns. Ralph is a representation of civilization and innocence. He believes that civilization is the only way to keep everyone safe.
Ralph concentrates on being rescued and Jack goes along taking on the responsibility that he and his choir will mind the fire. “We’ll be responsible for keeping the fire going-”, (Page 38) but while Ralph remains focused on being rescued, Jack’s new-found interest in hunting leads him to forget about rescue. “Jack had to think for a moment before he could remember what rescue was. “Rescue? Yes, of course! All the same, I’d like to catch a pig first-.” (Page 58) This also starts to show that Jack has entered the realm of savagery.
Jack is a character that is very influential. Jack represents savagery and evil in the book, by the way his civilization is canceled out by the bloodlust. Jack starts as a potential leader in the book by keeping the hunters organized. He seemed to support the fire when he said the following, “We've got to have rules and obey them. After all, we're not savages. We're English, and the English are best at everything.” (Page 38) One day when Sam and Eric were guarding the fire Jack asked them to