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Lord Of The Flies Essay On Ralphs Leadership

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The Importance of Leadership in Lord of the Flies      

 

There are always people who, in a group, come out with better qualities to be 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 to give an understanding of the different powers that 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 than Jack which gives him better leadership qualities.  Ralph displays these useful human qualities as a leader by working towards the betterment of the boys' society.  He knows the boys need stability and order if they are to survive on the island.  He creates rules and a simple form of government to achieve this order.  Jack does not treat the boys with dignity as Ralph does.  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 makes 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 holds.  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) he enforces his role of leader by making rules and gives the boys the stability of an authority figure, mainly himself.  By doing this 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.  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 Jack.  Jack fails to realize the boys need security, stability and order in their society. 

 

       Ralph's treatment of the boys also demonstrates his knowledge of human nature.  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)  This shows Jack's disregard for other humans; while at the same time demonstrates Ralph's compassion and ability to empathize with others thus illustrating his understanding of people.  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, as a good leader would take care of all of his followers.  Ralph possesses this knowledge and is therefore a better leader because of it. 

 

 

       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, which is getting off the island, is a wiser choice than for the boys to follow Jack.  Unfortunately, the boys take the easier choice, which is to hunt and play games rather than keep the fire burning.  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 which 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 remain. 

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Topic: Choose a character from the novel and make your argument for why they should lead. Write a 1000-word essay and use evidence from the novel to support your decision.

In the famous novel named "Lord of the flies", there are four main characters that William Golding built up to represent the typical personalities in human nature. While Jack stands for the powerfully instinct savagery, Simon represents the natural kindness and Piggy with his glasses is the symbol of wisdom, Ralph has the best conducts of a real leader as he was initially voted for chief. There are three main characteristics that mark him out as a felicitous leader: rational, moral and unflinching.

First of all, the most important trait that makes Ralph the best leader is his rational mind. I personally think that a leader should be a respectable and organized person. Ralph demonstrates his leading ability very well by the way he treats the kids. He said "We can't have everybody talking at once. We'll have 'Hands up' like at school" (33). Apparently, Ralph has a democratic view of governing: he wants everybody to have a chance to speak out. By saying this, Ralph built a good image of himself to make others support him voluntarily. "Ralph held out the glimmering conch and Maurice took it obediently" (88). As a result, the boys truly respect Ralph like the way he respects them. Ralph was very clever in his first strategy to gradually build up his reputation and yet, the order in his authority. "We'll have rules!" "Lots of rules!" (33) He obviously wants to keep the boys as a united community to work effectively. Ralph knows that anarchy will separate them and diminish their chance of being rescued. He inflicts the rules and regulations to maintain the order as it is the most essential basis of a community. The other point I want to mention is Ralph knows what is priority. "So we need shelters as a sort of_" "Home" (52). Ralph expresses himself as an organized and logical leader. This quotation implies that Ralph anticipated some future risks that could possibly put everyone in danger. "Everybody must stay round here and wait and not to go away" (23). A leader should be the one who is visionary and mature. On the contrary, Jack just focused on hunting and eating - naturally instinct needs of a human. Ralph specially cared about keeping the fire burning as a distress signal since he believed there's no better way to help them be rescued. "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?" (80). Ralph common sense to determine what is best for the group as a whole further demonstrates his superior leadership skills. He insisted on keeping the fire and exasperated when the boys ignored their mission. Ralph is not easily distracted person like the other boys, especially Jack when he tried to hunt the wild pig and let the fire out.

Secondly, Ralph is not only a rational leader but also a moral person, who cleverly keeps the fairness in his group. "Ralph, looking more understanding at Piggy, saw that he was hurt and crushed. He hovered between the two courses of apology or further insult 'Better Piggy than Fatty" (25). Ralph is sincere and considerate for other people. He apparently understand their feeling and particularly shows his sympathy for Piggy. Ralph is sensible enough to realize that everyone deserves to be respected. He believes no one should have to put up with being tormented. Ralph gently gains others' support by treating them equally, showing his compassion and ability to empathize with them. Opposite to Ralph, Jack is immoral, violent and condescending. "He's going to beat Wilfred" (159). He does not care or understand the natural equality of human beings and treats others in superior way. Jack shows his inability to sympathize with other boys and makes his followers do what he wants by violence is an irrational and transient way to keep them respect him.

The last trait that Ralph has is his unflinchingness, which is relatively important for a good leader. When the boys faced up with a threat that there is a beast intimidating them, Ralph with Jack and Simon had to go to confirm the truth. Undoubtedly, all of them have a huge fear of the supposed beast. Ralph could not hide his fear when he said "You're hunter" (104) to indicate that Jack should go first to check the beast but right after that, Ralph immediately recognized his responsibility as a chief "I'm chief. I'll go" (104). His leading sense reminds him to confront the danger and not let the fear overwhelm him. His quotation shows Ralph's courage and his awareness of being worthy of the boy's appointment. By saying that Ralph is unflinching, I also mean he is an optimistic leader. "While we're waiting we can have a good time on this island" (34). Ralph tries to maintain a generally positive spirit for the group as a whole, at once encourages himself to cope with a truth: they are stranded on an uninhabited island. Ralph wants to set a good example of an optimist and high-spirited chief so the boys would have the confidence in their leader. In chapter 11, when everyone followed Jack to satisfy their need of meat and completely forget about their mission of keeping the fire, Ralph still stayed on his own to protect his belief. Ralph said "I say! You voted for me for chief." "Didn't you hear the conch?" (116). Ralph understands his position among other people. A leader should be the one who knows who he is and always be ready to protect his authority. By saying straightforwardly to Jack he is the chief, Ralph demonstrates that he would never surrender him to lose the respect of the boys. I believe that even when the boys did not come back to Ralph (may be because of Jack's and Roger's powerful control) they could slightly see his assertive self-affirmation. Obviously, a leader can't be a dastard.

In conclusion, Ralph is a great combination of Piggy, Simon and Jack, which makes him the most appropriate leader of all the boys. Ralph is rational and clever in the way he creates and organizes his authority. He has the morality and sensibility to keep the justice in his group and treats them fairly. He is courageous and faithful in any situation. To compare Ralph with all three other characters, I absolutely would vote Ralph for chief if I was stranded on the island with him for his out-standing and skillful leading abilities.

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