In Lord of the Flies, Ralph shows many different tendencies of adulthood. Throughout the book, he shows that he wants to protect and care for the boys by building shelters and keeping the fire going for rescue. He also takes other’s words into consideration by using the conch as a way to get everyone’s opinions across. Although he cares for the boys and lets them speak their mind, there\’s still a few kids who decide to turn against him in a very immature way towards the end of this book, but he still prevails through and responds to them in a mature manner, just as a stable adult would.
The conch is one of the most important pieces in this story and Ralph was the one to go elbow deep in the water to get it. Having the conch at the beginning ultimately singled Ralph out as being different because he was the one who had brought them all together. The boys looked at the conch as something that holds power and authority, and since Ralph handled the conch so gracefully, they knew that he should be the leader. (“Let him be chief with the trumpet-thing” pg.22). Ralph becoming leader at the beginning of the book resembles a kindergarten teacher starting the school year off, showing the kids to speak by using something like a puppet, just like Ralph used the conch. When starting the first few days of kindergarten, we find out who is troubled and who will listen and sit still, and Jack was the epitome of troubled. He was one who liked to be in charge, an alpha male, and one who didn’t like knowledge all that much; making Piggy and Ralph instant enemies. He would constantly make fun of Piggy (“Then you come up here an’ pinch my specs-” Jack turned on him. “You shut up.” pg. 46) and Ralph would warn him to cut it out, but just like in kindergarten, not all kids listen; some need a time out or a visit to the office before they figure out what they’re doing is wrong, and Jack never got that punishment. Ralph also had to deal with the hazard of the boys going to the bathroom wherever they wanted, making sure to tell them that they have to have a specific place to go, just like a kindergarten teacher would tell her children where the bathroom is in school.
Besides taking turns and making sure everyone\’s behaving, Ralph also had to make sure everyone had somewhere to sleep. Throughout the book, one of Ralph\’s main concerns was building huts for shelter. He often was the only one who worked on these shelters(“And they keep running off. You remember the meeting? How everyone was gonna work hard till the shelters were finished?” pg. 50), just like a stay at home mom would take care of her baby while the father was at work. Ralph was also like a father in the sense of providing a fire just like a father provides money and food. Ralph constantly made sure that the fire was going, so if any boats would come they’d know that they were in need of rescue,but he also used the fire as a way to cook anything they’d catch on the island; making sure the kids all had foods in their stomach, a chance of safety, and shelter; which shows that Ralph resembles key necessities any caring parent would have.
As time went on Jack started to manipulate the boys more and more into thinking “hunting” was the only thing they really needed to do, and to throw their responsibilities right out the window. Jack reminds me of the kid who is spiraling out of control while Ralph reminds me of the parent who has the kid who is spiraling out of control, both are in a lose-lose situation. After not getting disciplined and letting the fire go out because he was being careless, like a middle school child, he then starts to wither into a bully who picks on anyone who doesn’t see things as he does and sends “his boys” into frenzies after getting them hyped up. (“The pig-run filled filled with shouting boys again, Jack came running back and poked about in the undergrowth.” pg.113) After all is done and the groups are decided Ralph decides to still go to Jack’s party despite all the bad things Jack has done to Piggy and Ralph, just like a mom would be there for her teenage daughter/son after they lied to them about going to a party. Although he still decided to go to the fire grave consequences came towards Simon and the rest of them when the boys killed Simon, sending everyone into a frenzy to kill Piggy and Ralph. The frenzee represents Jack as the son who starts drugs up again while Ralph (the father) watches his whole world, and Jack’s world to fall apart.
As you can see Ralph shows many different tendencies of being an adult, from being a kindergarten teacher, to being a mother/father caring for a small child, and going to extremes of being a parent dealing with a child who is out of control. Even though Ralph showed that he is capable of being an adult, it doesn’t help that Jack took the fragile sides of the kids and turned them against him. This book shows that if we don’t foster any of the traits Ralph displays that we’d have too many Jacks in this world.
Golding William. Lord of the Flies: A Novel. New York: Perigee Book, 2006. Print.
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