Essay: Lord of the Flies Ralph Character Analysis

Ralph is the representation or symbol of leadership, civilization, order, good, etc. This quote ‘He was old enough, twelve years and a few months, to have lost the prominent tummy of childhood and not yet old enough for adolescence to have made him awkward. You could see now that he might make a boxer, as far as width and heaviness of shoulders went, but there was a mildness about his mouth and eyes that proclaimed no devil’ physically describes him as at least 12 years old, having no baby fat and no adverse effects of puberty, ‘fair’, attractive, has ‘fair’ hair, has the body of a boxer, athletic, and last, but not least, mild eyes and mouth, and in a nonphysical sense, also is charismatic, intelligent, shows common sense, a natural leader, diplomatic. Ralph is the one who makes the meeting place for the boys to get together to talk, the fire for warmth and a way to get the boys rescued, and the huts for shelter against bad weather and also uses Piggy’s intelligence and realizes that the boys’ fears and superstitions stop them from surviving. He shows his ability to be a leader when he was able to think and act cautiously and with sense when the other boys panic over mistaking the dead soldier with a parachute on the mountain for the ‘beastie’ and tries endlessly to make the boys focused on hoping to get rescued and also when he was the only one to explore the castle rock even though he is afraid of the ‘beastie’
At first, Ralph was expected having adventures on the island but as time goes on, he becomes unexcited about the boys’ independence from adults and wants to go to his ‘old’ life which is shown when he daydreams about his ‘other’ life and also about bathing and grooming in the quote ‘Once, following his father from Chatham to Devonport, they had lived in a cottage on the edge of the moors. In the succession of houses that Ralph had known, this one stood out with particular clarity because after that house he had been sent away to school. Mummy had still been with them and Daddy had come home every day. Wild ponies came to the stone wall at the bottom of the garden, and it had snowed. Just behind the cottage there was a sort of shed and you could lie up there, watching the ‘akes swirl past. You could see the damp spot where each ‘ake died, then you could mark the ‘rst ‘ake that lay down without melting and watch, the whole ground turn white. You could go indoors when you were cold and look out of the window, past the bright copper kettle and the plate with the little blue men. When you went to bed there was a bowl of corn’akes with sugar and cream. And the books’they stood on the shelf by the bed, leaning together with always two or three laid ‘at on top because he had not both- ered to put them back properly. They were dog-eared and scratched. There was the bright, shining one about Topsy and Mopsy that he never read because it was about two girls; there was the one about the magician which you read with a kind of tied-down terror, skipping page twenty-seven with the awful picture of the spider; there was a book about people who had dug things up, Egyptian things; there was The Boy’s Book of Trains, The Boy’s Book of Ships. Vividly they came before him; he could have reached up and touched them, could feel the weight and slow slide with which The Mammoth Book for Boys would come out and slither down…. Everything was all right; everything was good-humored and friendly.’ However, Ralph’s experiences on the island have destroyed his naivet?? and destroyed his innocence which is shown when he becomes more faithless about assemblies or meetings even as he gets more experience with them when he bitterly says “Don’t we love meetings?” because only him, Piggy, and Simon does anything productive toward the boys’ survival on the island. As time goes on, he loses his verbal ability and his ability to organize his thoughts properly like how order and rules have disappeared because his mental ‘workings’, like his clothes, have been worn down by the primitive life on the island like when he tries and fails to develop an agenda for the meeting and when he cannot remember why he wants a signal fire and that Piggy has to tell him in the quote “remember what we came for. The fire. My specs.” However, he still has his ability to think abstractly when he responds to the lost rescue opportunity’s crisis. The quote “with a convulsion of the mind, Ralph discovered dirt and decay” shows that he figuratively discovers the dark nature of humanity but also, at the same time, he recognizes that the only things that can ‘hold’ the evil at bay are intelligence, empathy, and last but not least sensitivity which is hown when he ‘smiled jeeringly,’ like how adults might ‘look back’ with skepticism on ideals they had when they were children, when he recognizes the hardships of life on the island compared to his first impression of glamour on the island.
‘He jumped down from the terrace. The sand was thick over his black shoes and the heat hit him. He became conscious of the weight of clothes, kicked his shoes off ‘ercely and ripped off each stocking with its elastic garter in a single movement. Then he leapt back on the terrace, pulled off his shirt, and stood there among the skull-like coconuts with green shadows from the palms and the forest sliding over his skin. He undid the snake-clasp of his belt, lugged off his shorts and pants, and stood there naked, looking at the dazzling beach and the water’ Ralph’s first action is stripping off all of his clothes which is never a good thing because it is the first step toward becoming lawless and savage stripping is never a good sign and even though Ralph is just thinking practically when he took off his clothes to get cooler, it also shows that Ralph is just as savage as the other boys which is shown when he “shrieks with laughter” when Piggy told him his name which shows that although he is a good kid. The quote ‘Ralph entered into the play and everybody laughed…Ralph, carried away by a sudden thick excitement, grabbed Eric’s spear and jabbed at Robert with it…Ralph too was ‘ghting to get near, to get a handful of that brown, vulnerable ‘esh. The desire to squeeze and hurt was over-mastering’ shows that Ralph looks depraved when he hunts when he talks about wounding a pig for the first time with excitement and thinks that “hunting was good after all.” Also, when he and Piggy’s went to Jack’s party, ‘Piggy and Ralph, under the threat of the sky, found themselves eager to take a place in this demented but partly secure society. They were glad to touch the brown backs of the fence that hemmed in the terror and made it governable.’ which turns into Simon’s murder although Ralph tries to deny that he was involved in the murder of Simon by saying that “we left early,” it is false because he helped kill Simon which goes to show that even Ralph has the beast living ‘inside’ him. When Ralph “launched himself like a cat; stabbed, snarling, with the spear, and the savage doubled up,” he shows that he is all animal-like at the end of the novel. Last but not least, Ralph realizes that the order back home is just fragile ‘cover’ of civilization and that he is going to be as savage as anybody else given the chance during a meeting in the late afternoon when everyone and everything looks different in his quote “If faces [are] different when lit from above or below’what is a face? What is anything?” which basically means that people lose their meanings when they are at the island because the boys become like savages, they are completely different than the regular British boys that arrived on the island.
However, even though he becomes ‘frayed’ by the primitive life’s ‘fears’ and ‘trials’ and is slowly becoming a savage by the other boys, he is the one who thinks of the death of Simon as murder and has a unbiased view of his involvement with Simon’s death and so feels both loathing and excitement over it. When he becomes ‘prey,’ he recognizes that he is an outcast in that he is the only person with common sense and the only civilized person with a moral conscience which shows when he meets the officer on the beach that he is upset over his appearance because it is dirty rather than being relieved that he has been saved from a painful death which shows that after everything that has happened on the island, he still has his civility. He gave up his innocence and naivet?? and gained an understanding of the nature of humanity which is that everybody has evil in them and that everyone needs intelligence, spirit and mysticism, and last but not least, hopes and dreams to resist evil and last, but not least, this knowledge makes Ralph an tragic figure because even though Piggy and Simon are murdered, he is the only one who have to go back to civilization with the knowledge that he is, like everybody else, just a lawless and orderless savage.

Source: Essay UK - http://ntechno.pro/essays/english-literature/essay-lord-of-the-flies-ralph-character-analysis/


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