Comparing Ralph and Jack of William Golding’s Lord Of The Flies
There are always people who, in a group, come out with better qualities as 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, in order to give an understanding of the different powers that some 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 which gives Ralph better leadership qualities than Jack.
Ralph displays useful qualities as a leader by working towards the betterment of the boys’ society. He knows that in order to stay civilized the boys need stability and order. He creates rules and a simple form of government to achieve this order. 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 creates 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 himself calls. 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) by making such rules as these, and by giving the boys the stability of an authority figure, mainly himself, he enforces his role of leader. 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. Jack fails to realize the boys need security…
…ng Ralph, have been lead astray by Jack.
Ralph’s main priority, is getting off the island, a much wiser choice for the boys to follow. Unfortunately, the boys decide to follow Jack, whose main priority is to hunt and play games rather than try to be saved. 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 who 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.