Literary Analysis Essay on Lord of the Flies: Which Character Do You Most Admire and Why?

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Vanderbilt University
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Book review
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William Goldings Lord of the Flies presents the reader with a fitting but unlikely protagonist. Ralph is presented as an easygoing, charismatic, and good-looking character. After the plane wrecks and the boys end up with no direction on a deserted island, Ralph initially seems to be the right character to lead the group. Consequently, Ralph is chosen as the leader by the rest of the boys, and instantly, his pragmatic trait, unlike the boy’s playful traits emerges. For the beginning part of their journey, Ralphs’s leadership is clearly commendable as discussed in this paper.

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Lord of the Flies Ralph Leadership Qualities

Due to his obvious recognition for common sense instead of ignorance, Ralph is able to conceive group meetings, where they should set up shelters, and how they should do it. His intellectual and diplomatic leadership can be compared to Piggys rationalism (Kelly, Maureen, 2000). This is because he understands the false fears that the island presents and instructs the boys to avoid thinking of them because they act as barriers. For example, when they encounter a dead paratrooper, Ralph proceeds vigilantly while keeping the boys focused on their hope for rescue. Hence, when they decide to inspect the castle rock, Ralph leads the group cautiously despite his fear for the presumed beast.

Lord of the Flies: Ralph Character Traits

Apart from his leadership attributes, Ralph is seen as a romantic young man at the beginning of their adventure on the island. With time, however, Ralph loses the excitement he had about independence as he focuses on leading the group while still looking forward to the comforts back at home. For instance, while the group rests, Ralph engages himself in recollections about the peace and comfort privileges such as bathing and cereal back at home. This behavior portrays Ralph as a humane character, unlike Jack who is led by the desire to instill fear in the boys by doing evil things while on the island. However, even he realizes that his naivety and innocence are fading away as he gains leadership experience through civilized dialogue and group assemblies (Olsen, Kirstin, 2000). For example, when trying to convene a meeting, Ralph blurts out angrily, Dont we love meetings? (Golding, 2012) when he realizes the boys are beginning to ignore the rules they had established. Although Ralph appears to lack an agenda during one of their meetings, he still demonstrates his ability as a conceptual intellectual. Ralphs mind is subjected to the same dirt and decay that his clothes are. Therefore, his leadership tends to wear and he constantly finds himself in a maze of elusive thoughts. However, unlike the other boys, he is able to recognize the ongoing decay and discover man’s dark side. It is then that he realizes that only individual traits such as intellect, reason, and empathy are the right tools to hold the impending evil at bay (Kelly, Maureen, 2000). In doing so, Ralphs’s awareness of the looming evil enables him to acknowledge the difficult lifestyle that they will have to live instead of the glamour he had envisioned. Despite unending efforts by the rest of the boys to infect him with savagery, Ralph is able to see beyond the hardships and fears they possess. When Simon dies, he is the only one who perceives the act as murder.


Despite suddenly losing his position as the boy’s leader to a greedy Jack, Ralphs’s common sense defeats his innocence and makes him a civilized person with morals. At the end of the book, Ralph realizes that through his civilized character and loss of naivety, he was able to understand the pros and cons of humanity’s nature.

Lord of the Flies Ralph Quotes

  • “Ralph wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of man’s heart, and the fall through the air of a true, wise friend called Piggy.”

  • “They looked at each other, baffled, in love and hate.”

  • “There aren’t any grown-ups. We shall have to look after ourselves.”

  • “The thing is – fear can’t hurt you any more than a dream.”

  • “Ralph sat on a fallen trunk, his left side to the sun. On his right were most of the choir; on his left the larger boys who had not known each other before the evacuation; before him, small children squatted in the grass.”

Works Cited

Golding, William. Lord of the Flies. London: Faber and Faber, 2012. Print.

Kelly, Maureen. Cliffsnotes Golding's Lord of Flies. Foster City, CA: IDG Books Worldwide, 2000. Internet resource.Olsen, Kirstin. Understanding Lord of the Flies: A Student Casebook to Issues, Sources, and Historical Documents. Westport, Conn. [u.a.: Greenwood Press, 2000. Print.

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