A leader is someone who directs or guides a group. However, good leadership is the ability to set priorities and accomplish what needs to be done with the feelings of the group in mind. In Lord of the Flies, Ralph demonstrates many traits that would be considered good leadership. At times he also lacks them, and if he had demonstrated them he could have helped the situation greatly. Ralph understands how people feel and has the ability to respect that and make decisions based off of people’s feelings. He also has the ability to be very serious, which is a good leadership trait if you want to accomplish something.
Ralph was also very wise and always made the decisions that he thought were best for the group. In addition, Ralph is very hard working, once he knows what needs to be done he will work very hard to accomplish that task. Throughout the book Ralph demonstrates he is empathetic towards other people’s feelings, he is serious towards his goal, he makes wise decisions, and he is hardworking towards the task at hand. In the book, Ralph was empathetic and showed understanding towards the boys’ feelings. “‘Trouble is, we haven’t got enough people for a fire. You got to treat Samneric as one turn.
They do everything together-’” (138) This shows that, even in a time of crisis, Ralph will consider everyone’s feelings before he acts. This trait also hinders Ralph because he does not realize how unproductive it would be to treat the twins as one boy until Piggy explains it to Ralph. This is an example of how he may understand the boy’s feelings, but he must use his wisdom to make the best decision for the whole group. Dwight D. Eisenhower once said, “You do not lead by hitting people over the head — that’s assault, not leadership. ” This is a perfect example of the difference between Ralph and Jack.
Jack lacks the quality of empathy, which is what divides Ralph from Jack and leads Jack’s group to chaos while Ralph’s still holds onto some civilization. Ralph also cared about Jack’s feelings in the beginning because he felt bad that he had all the power so he told the boys, “‘Jack’s in charge of the choir. They can be- what do you want them to be? ’” (23) This shows that he is willing to share his power, while Jack will later want it all for himself. In the book Ralph is also very serious most of the time. Ralph is serious because he knows what must be done and how to accomplish it.
Ralph’s main goal is to keep the fire going and to get rescued. Ralph often sticks to this idea and prioritizes what they must do, while the other boys just focus on having fun. “‘You hunters! You can laugh! But I tell you smoke is more important than the pig, however often you kill one. Do all of you see? ’ He spread his arms wide and turned to the whole triangle. ‘We’ve got to make smoke up there – or die. ’” (69) This shows that Ralph can be serious, while the other boys do not try to be. In being serious, Ralph is able to focus on the main task at hand and make practical decisions, which in turn makes him a good leader.
However, at first Ralph had fun with Jack and Simon when they all went to see if the island they were on was truly an island. This shows that he may have developed leadership qualities once he needed to. Being serious did not always help Ralph, the other boys joined Jack’s group because they thought it would be more fun. Had Ralph been able to have fun while trying to accomplish his important tasks (like keeping the fire going), he may have been able to have more boys stay with him. At the beginning of the book Ralph says, “‘This is our island. It’s a good island. Until the grown-ups come to fetch us we’ll have fun. ” (33) While Ralph was more open to fun, the group of boys held together tighter; the more and more Ralph tries to keep the fire going the more and more nobody listens. Ralph is also very wise for his age. He knows what needs to be a priority for the group, 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 a fire going? ’” (80) and he continues on to say that they should die before they let the fire go out because Ralph knows that if the fire goes out they are as good as dead, and have no hopes for ever being rescued.
He was always wise to try to keep order because he knew if it was lost there would be no way to regain it, he always insisted on sticking to the rules and everyone doing an equal part. Also, once order was almost lost Ralph knew not to call the boys back to the meeting, when they went with Jack, because he knew if he blew the conch then and it failed the power of it would be lost forever to the boys on the island. In the beginning of the book Ralph also knew that building huts should have been the priority over hunting. Ralph says, “‘If it rains like when we dropped in we’ll need shelters all right.
And then another thing. We need shelters because of the-’” (52) At the end of the quote Ralph is referring to the beast all of the children are afraid of. This shows he is wise because he knows what needs to be the group’s priorities. Throughout the book, Ralph was also hardworking. He always knew what had to be done and was willing to put in the work to do it. He knew that it was more necessary to build the huts rather than to hunt and he worked hard, with only Simon’s help, to complete the shelters. Ralph says in an argument with Jack, “‘People don’t help much… Simon. He helps. He pointed at the shelters. ‘All the rest rushed off. He’s done as much as I have. ’” (54) This shows that even with very little help from the rest Ralph will work hard to accomplish his goal, even if it makes him angry to do so. Ralph also works hard on trying to get the boys to make sure the fire keeps going. He insists on multiple occasions that it is the priority and tries very hard to get that idea ingrained into the boys’ heads. However, towards the beginning and the end of the book Ralph is not as hard working because he doesn’t have the goal of keeping the fire going.
Towards the end of the book he gets confused and slightly confused by the savagery, which causes him to forget about the fire at times. Ralph says to the group of children, “‘The fire’s the most important thing. Without the fire we can’t be rescued. I’d like to put on war-paint and be a savage, But we must keep the fire burning. The fire’s the most important thing on the island, because, because-’” (142) Towards the end of Ralph’s speech he starts to forget the main importance of the fire. He doesn’t recall until Piggy reminds him.
Towards the beginning of the book Ralph says, “This is our island. It’s a good island. Until the grown-ups come to fetch us we’ll have fun. ” (33) This shows that Ralph is not as hardworking at first towards the goal of being rescued and takes the idea of being rescued for granted. He does not realize how hard he actually has to work to be rescued until he stayed on the island for longer and realized they must keep the fire going and cannot just rely on luck. Ralph demonstrated many leadership qualities throughout the course of the book.
However, in some cases he lacks some of the same traits that would be necessary towards the situation. Throughout the course of the book his leadership skills develop because, at first, the only reason he was leader was because he found the conch. He had to develop some of his leadership traits afterwards to rise to the occasion. He was also not hungry for power; he developed the idea to remain leader once he was elected. Jack wanted the power to begin with and came with most of the traits he displayed throughout the book, while Ralph develops a lot throughout the course of it.
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