Lord Of The Flies Comparison Of Ralph

Lord Of The Flies, Comparison Of Ralph And Jack Essay, Research Paper

There are always people who, in a group,

come out with better qualities as a leader than others. The strongest people

however, become the greater influences, which the others decide to follow.

However, sometimes the strongest person is not the best choice. Authors

often show how humans select this stronger person, in 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.

Ralph displays useful human qualities as

a leader by working towards the betterment of the boys’ society. He knows

that in order to stay civilized the boys need stability and order. He creates

rules and a simple form of government to achieve this order. Ralph understands

that the boys, particularly Piggy, have to be given respect and must be

treated as equals. This makes Ralph a better leader, as he is able to acknowledge

that he was not superior to any of the other boys. Ralph’s wisdom and ability

to look to the future also make him a superior leader. Ralph has the sense

to keep his focus on getting off the island. He insists on keeping the

fire burning as a distress signal. Ralph’s leadership provides peace and

order to the island while Jack’s leadership creates chaos.

Under Jack’s rule, the boys become uncivilized

savages. They have no discipline. Ralph, however, keeps the boys under

order through the meetings, which he himself calls. At these meetings a

sense of order is instilled because the boys have to wait until they hold

the conch to speak. When Ralph says, “I’ll give the conch to the next person

to speak. He can hold it when he’s speaking.” (Golding 36) by making such

rules as these, and by giving the boys the stability of an authority figure,

mainly himself, he enforces his role of leader. He wins the boys respect

and confidence in his leadership abilities. Ralph uses his authority to

try to improve the boys’ society. By building shelters he demonstrates

his knowledge of the boys’ needs. When he says to Jack, “They talk and

scream. The littluns. Even some of the others.” (Golding 56) he is referring

to why the boys need shelters; they are afraid. Jack fails to realize the

boys need security, stability and order in their society. Ralph understands

that by building the shelters, the boys will feel more secure. This illustrates

his superior knowledge of people, which makes him a better leader than


Ralph’s treatment of the boys demonstrates

his understanding of how people should be treated. While Jack considers

the boys inferior to himself, Ralph treats the boys as equals. Ralph’s

superior leadership qualities are reflected in his constant defence of

Piggy. Piggy is the weakest of the group and is therefore treated unfairly

much of the time. When Jack hits Piggy and breaks his glasses, Ralph calls

it “A dirty trick.” (Golding 78) Ralph’s compassion and ability to empathize

with others thus illustrating his understanding of people; while at the

same time demonstrates Jack’s disregard for other humans. Ralph’s “government”

is a form of democracy which gives each boy equal rights and an ability

to express themselves. Jack treats the boys, especially Piggy, as inferiors.

When Jack gets meat from hunting, he gives everyone some except for Piggy.

When Piggy asks for some, Jack says, “You didn’t hunt.” (Golding 80) Ralph

and many of the littluns did not hunt, yet only this treatment is directed

at Piggy. Jack’s contempt for Piggy shows his inability to understand people,

while a good leader would take care of all of his followers. Ralph possesses

this understanding and is therefore a better leader.

Ralph’s common sense and ability to recognize

what is best for the group as a whole further demonstrates his superior

leadership skills. His main focus throughout the book is getting rescued

and he puts much emphasis on this. He instructs the boys to make a fire

and to keep it burning as a distress signal. When the boys do not share

his enthusiasm for getting rescued, he becomes exasperated. “The fire is

the most important thing on the island. How can we ever be rescued except

by luck, if we don’t keep the fire going?” (Golding 88) Ralph’s determination

to get rescued is not for purely selfish reasons, but rather, it is in

the best interest of the group. When the boys join Jack’s tribe; Jack only

satisfies their short term wants and needs, such as the desire for meat.

A good leader however, should look to the future and plan accordingly such

as Ralph does. Although these choices may not always be popular, the better

leader will carry out long term plans. When Piggy says “Which is better

- to be a pack of painted niggers like you are, or to be sensible like

Ralph is?” (Golding 199) he demonstrates how the boys; by not following

Ralph, have been lead astray by Jack. Ralph’s main priority, is getting

off the island, a much wiser choice for the boys to follow. Unfortunately,

the boys decide to follow Jack, whose main priority is to hunt and play

games rather than try to be saved. Had they listened to the better leader,

the novel may not have ended as tragically.

Ralph’s clear understanding of people and

their needs make him a far superior leader when compared with Jack. Ralph’s

understanding of the boys need for stability and order through government

and rules prompts him to improve the society in which they are living.

Jack’s society was barbaric and savage and met none of these needs. Jack

treats the boys as slaves and inferiors. Ralph’s patience and caring with

the boys shows his ability to take charge and rule in an effective, yet

democratic fashion. Ralph’s priority to get off the island demonstrates

his wisdom and ability to make decisions. Although a good leader may not

be as charismatic as a poor one, it is important to choose the leader who

will meet the needs of the people. The popularity of an inferior leader

soon disappears, yet the wisdom and guidance of a good leader will always



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