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Ralph’s Conflict Essay

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In the novel Lord of The Flies the author creates an exceptionally complex character by the name of Ralph. Ralph is the principal representative of civilization and reason in the novel. Taking into account that he is the main one who wants to establish a smoothly running social system to maintain order and productivity, and useful leadership he can be perceived as the group’s moral guide considering he and Piggy seem to be the only ones concerned with maintaining some code of ethics and not reverting to utter savagery.

Ralph’s external conflict would definitely have to be with Jack and the fact that they are alone on the island, and his internal conflict in figuring how to maintain some form of civilization for his own sanity and not reverting to the primal instincts of bloodlust, power, and savagery. Ralph’s external conflict with Jack can be expressed as civilization vs. savagery, or reason vs. impulse. Jack blatantly represents both savagery and impulse. In the novel this is clearly displayed through his actions.

Rather than using logic and wanting to maintain civilized Jack wants to gratify his want for power by killing a pig when his goal should be maintaining the signal fire. For Ralph, unlike Jack the signal fire is extremely relevant. It symbolizes the boys want to return back to the rest of society, and their refusal to believe that they are going to remain on the island forever unfortunately Ralph assigned the task of sustaining the signal fire to Jack who seems to care less.

Jack and Ralph also have a noticeable power struggle, Ralph is charismatic and displays logically beneficial ideas so the boys voted him as chief which greatly upset Jack who wants that power. Considering Jack hit Piggy, maybe in the future he and Ralph shall fight more than verbally. Ralph’s internal conflict is one displayed throughout the entire with every character to some degree.

The conflict between two opposing impulses that exist within all human beings: the instinct to live by rules, act peacefully, follow moral commands, and value the good of the group against the instinct to fulfill one’s immediate desires, act violently to obtain supremacy over others, and enforce one’s will. So far Ralph seems to be winning the internal conflict and remaining on the logical and civilized end of the spectrum, but it seems like he is losing power over the boys to the primal savagery and barbarism that exists within them.

Ralph’s internal struggle is to continue to believe in being rescued, and to somehow make the boys realize that in the long run his ideas are best, what they think is bringing them pleasure will ultimately be their doom. Ralph realizes this and is faced with the challenge of trying to prevent the boys from going down this road. So far Ralph’s internal and external conflicts are one in the same in a sense.

He needs to figure out how to establish and maintain law and order, and not give up hope of returning to civilization. In these last three chapters we can see the transition of the boys from well behaved civilized children, to them gradually giving into their innate evils and becoming cruel savages. Ralph is critical to whether things will get better or worse on the island and if they will be rescued, hopefully he overcomes his conflicts.

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