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Lord Of The Flies - A Character Study Of Ralph

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This essay is a character study of Ralph, who is one of the main characters in William Golding’s ‘Lord of the Flies’. I have chosen to analyse Ralph’s character, as it is the character with which I feel that I can relate most closely. Ralph is probably the novel’s main character. This essay will include my identification of the major aspects of Ralph’s character and how he symbolises different themes, which are portrayed in the novel. I will cover in this what Ralph contributes to the plot of the novel, a description of Ralph’s appearance, his dreams, his attitude to being stranded on the island, how he relates to the other boys and how he organises the boys into becoming a self-dependent society.

Ralph’s character plays a major part in the plot of ‘Lord of the Flies’. Ralph is the first character we meet in the novel and at first he seems to be very relaxed about the situation of being in unknown territory. The plot begins opens when Ralph and another boy, Piggy, discover each other and eventually decide through Piggy’s constant persistence to blow through a conch shell to see if there are any other people around. It turns out that there are many other boys stranded on the island and they begin to form a small community, which is controlled by Ralph who becomes the leader. Throughout the novel Ralph tries to keep the boys in order and to preserve a civilised society by showing constant faith that if they work together they will be rescued. He does this by encouraging them to keep a fire burning, which represents that faith, and to organise themselves into a unit equipped to handle the unpredictable situation. However, Ralph finds this increasingly difficult as the story progresses. Ralph begins to long and daydream of his civilised and normal past. Gradually, he becomes confused and began to lose clarity in his thoughts and speeches. "Ralph was puzzled by the shutter that flickered in his brain. There was something he wanted to say; then the shutter had come down." (p. 156)

Suspicion arises that there may be a beast on the island and Jack the main choir boy, who is Ralph’s chief rival for leadership, forms a tribe and begins to encourage the other boys to ignore Ralph’s rule. Gradually many of the boys turn into savages and treat the island like their own playpen, with an incremental build up of evil in their behaviour. Another major character...

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...order to give an understanding of the different powers that some people can posses over others. In William Golding's novel, Lord of the Flies Ralph though not the stronger person, demonstrates a better understanding of people which gives Ralph better leadership qualities than Jack, although he is ultimately not succesful.

In a way Simon can be seen to represent Jesus Christ and Jack is evil and represents Belezebub. It is ironic that Jack starts out as the leader of the choir and ends up by being the most evil of the boys. Ralph is like Peter who was the disciple that Christ loved best and yet who betrayed Christ.

In conclusion, Ralph is possibly the most heroic character in the book as he is, if you note, the only one who follows his belief and faith and this brings him through, even in the forest at the end, when it is him against the rest. In the end Ralph is a very ordinary boy who has almost been crushed by the opposition but despite recognising obvious weaknesses in himself, he always tries to understand what is going on around him and to understand himself and thus shows indubitable heroism. He is more heroic because of his weaknesses and his acceptance of his own guilt.
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