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Lord Of The Flies 5 Essay, Research Paper
In a group, there are always people who come out with better qualities as a leader than others. However, the strongest people become the greater influence, which the others decide to follow. Sometimes the strongest person is not always the best choice. Lord of the Flies shows how humans select this stronger person, in order to give an understanding of the different powers that some people can posses over others. Ralph, who is not the stronger person, demonstrates a better understanding of people that gives Ralph better leadership qualities than Jack.
Ralph displays useful human qualities as a leader by working towards the greater good of the society. He knows that in order to stay civilized the boys need stability and order. Realizing this, he creates rules and a simple form of government to achieve this order. Ralph understands that the boys have to be given respect and must all be treated equally. He acknowledges that he is not superior to any of the other boys, which makes him a better leader. His leadership provides peace and order to the island.
Under Jack’s rule, the boys become uncivilized savages. They have no discipline. The meetings that Ralph calls restore a sense of order because the boys have to wait until they hold the conch to speak. Ralph says, “I’ll give the conch to the next person to speak. He can hold it when he’s speaking.” (Ch. 2, Pg. 36, Line 24-25). This quote proves that Ralph is trying to keep some order. Ralph uses his authority to try to improve the society. He tells Jack, “They talk and scream. The littluns. Even some of the others.” (C.3, P.56, L.28). In this quote, he is referring to why the boys need shelters, reason being, they are afraid. He understands that by having shelters, the boys will feel more secure.
Ralph’s “government” is a form of democracy, which gives each boy equal rights and ability to express themselves. Jack s government is a form of dictatorship because he considers everyone inferiors. When Jack gets meat from hunting, he gives everyone some except for Piggy. When Piggy asks for some, Jack replies, “You didn’t hunt.” (C.4, P.80, L.21). Ralph and the littluns also did not hunt, which means 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.
Ralph s main focus throughout the book is getting rescued. 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. He says, “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?” (C.5, P.88, L.12-14). Ralph’s determination to get rescued is not for purely selfish reasons, but rather because it is in the best interest of the group.
The boys join Jack’s tribe only because he can satisfy their short-term wants and needs, such as the desire for meat. However, a good leader looks to the future and plans accordingly, just as Ralph does. Although these choices may not always be admired, the better leader will carry out long-term plans. Piggy states, “Which is better – to be a pack of painted niggers like you are, or to be sensible like Ralph is?” (C.11, P.199, L.20-21). In this quote, 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. In my opinion, had they listened to the better leader, which was Ralph, the novel may not have ended as tragically.
Ralph’s clear understanding of people and their needs make him a far superior leader than Jack. His understanding of the boys need for stability and order through government and rules prompts him to improve the society. Jack’s society was barbaric, and met none of these needs. Jack treats the boys as slaves and inferiors. Ralph’s patience and caring for the boys shows his ability to take charge and rule in an effective, yet democratic fashion. His priority to get off the island demonstrates his wisdom and ability to make decisions. The popularity of an inferior leader, namely Jack, soon disappears, yet the wisdom and guidance of a good leader, namely Ralph, will always remain.
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