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The Importance of Leadership in Lord of the Flies

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.

The Two Faces of Man Exposed in The Lord of the Flies

The Two Faces of Man Exposed in The Lord of the Flies

William Golding was inspired by his experiences in the Royal Navy during World War II when he wrote Lord of the Flies (Beetz 2514). Golding has said this about his book:

The theme is an attempt to trace the defeats of society back to the defects of human nature. The moral is that the shape of society must depend on the ethical nature of the individual and not on any political system however apparently logical or respectable. The whole book is symbolic in nature except the rescue in the end where adult life appears, dignified and capable, but in reality enmeshed in the same evil as the symbolic life of the children on the island. (Epstein 204)

In the novel he displays the two different personalities that mankind possesses, one civilized, the other primitive. Golding uses the setting, characters, and symbolism in Lord of the Flies to give the reader a detailed description of these two faces of man.

The story’s setting is essential for the evolution of both sides of man. When an airplane carrying a bunch of school boys crashes on an island, only the children survive. The island the children find themselves on is roughly boat-shaped (Golding 29; ch. 1). It is ironic that the children are stuck on an island shaped like the thing that could save them (a boat). Despite this irony, they are trapped. They are surrounded by ocean and no one knows where they are. The boys, isolated from society, must now create their own.

The children soon realize that there are, “No grownups!” (Golding 8; ch. 1) This means that the boys must fend for themselves until they are rescued. There are no parents or adults to give the boys rules or punish them i…

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Michel-Michot, Paulette. “The Myth of Innocence,”. Matuz 175-7.

Rosenfield, Claire. “ŒMen of a Smaller Growth’: A Psychological Analysis of William Golding’s Lord of the Flies.” Matuz 172-5.

Spitz, David. “Power and Authority: An Interpretation of Golding’s Lord of the Flies,”. Gunton 172-3.

Taylor, Harry H. “The Case against William Golding’s Simon-Piggy.” Gunton 170-1.

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