Characterization Of Ralph Essay

1486 words - 6 pages

The Lord of the Flies depicts a human race through its dynamic characters, which embody a combination of logic, goodness, violence, and anarchy. Ralph, the protagonist of the novel, is the “public face of civilization” (Anjum 4). In the beginning of the novel, naïve, young Ralph hopes to construct some form of civilization into the boys to attain rescue. However, as the novel progresses, Ralph becomes vulnerable to the savagery and anarchy of the other boys on the island. In The Lord of the Flies, Golding demonstrates this struggle between savagery and civilization through the characterization of Ralph, an innocent child who is forced into maturity by his experiences on the island.
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As a result, Ralph’s attempts to instill order when there was no one to enforce it demonstrate his virtuousness and connection with society.
However, as the story progresses, Ralph starts to see his essential failure as a leader for civilization which exposes his vulnerability to savagery. Even though he is initially delighted with the responsibilities as the headman, later on he struggles to accomplish simple tasks such as properly feeding, sheltering, and protecting the boys. Success as a leader is measured by your ability to accomplish tasks; therefore, Ralph has failed because he couldn’t manage to find meat, only being able to provide crabs and fruit from the island (Olsen 10). In addition, Ralph is basically powerless in reminding the boys’ of society because he has lost control of them. Consequently, when Ralph was betrayed by Jack, a reckless, power-driven leader, Ralph struggles to live by the rules and be a “monster of goodness” (Oldsey 4). He changes from an innocent child to a corrupt adult who fails to demonstrate selflessness and logic. For example, Ralph had many opportunities to act on his advantages, but, instead he chooses to be selfish and savage because of his “all-consuming desire for power and acceptance among the boys” (Olsen 9). First, he could have relinquished some power to Jack, casting him as leader, and Ralph could have controlled the fire. However, he refuses to sacrifice his own vanity and ambition for the greater good of rescue, demonstrating Ralph’s growth towards adulthood. Furthermore, he could have formed a coalition with Piggy, where he listens to Piggy’s logic of building a raft and clock but instead he chooses to be embarrassed by Piggy’s friendship and doesn’t force possible solutions of rescue. Therefore, Ralph showcases how “evil triumphs in the absence of action by good people” (Vuuren 10). Unlike the beginning of the story where Ralph was working with the boys to teach virtues of society, now he focuses too much on becoming a better leader than Jack, whose desires are only for pleasure, power, and self-glorification (Anjum 6). Moreover, he resorts to retaining power by hunting for meat, tying his hair back, and acting savage. He chooses to live in the “wilderness of predation, aggression, and fear, demonstrating how Ralph has entered adulthood” (Anjum 5). For example, Ralph says, “I hit him all right, the spear stuck in, I wounded him” (Golding 113), which showcases Ralph’s growth into savagery because of his experiences with Jack’s brutality and hunting for pleasure. Subsequently, Ralph struggles to remain civilized and not enter savagery when he is forced into maturity by being chosen leader and then getting this power revoked.
By the end of the novel, Ralph realizes his “loss of innocence, and feels the guilt and ignominy of consciousness” (Vuuren 10). By examining the duplicity of Golding’s symbols, it is evident that Ralph has emerged from the age of innocence into adulthood. For example,...

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