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The Theme of Leadership in The Novel "Lord of The Flies" by William Golding

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Leadership is directing a group of people to work together towards a common goal while assuring nobody’s fundamental human rights are taken away from them. While reading Lord of the Flies, many teachers and historians argue if Jack was the better leader than Ralph due to the different morals and goals each character had. In William Golding’s novel, The Lord of the Flies, the ideal leader is Ralph due to his high moral standards and goals for the betterment of everyone.

To start, Jack and Ralph represent two different systems of government in the novel, which can surprisingly provide two different standards of living. Right from the start, we can see Ralph showing a perfect example if a democratic government which values everyone’s opinion no matter of their age or size. In chapter two, Ralph says “We can’t have everybody talking at once. We’ll have to have ‘Hands up’ like at school. Then I’ll give them the conch” (p.30). This quote is significant since Ralph gives all of the boys the freedom to voice their beliefs by using the conch. This ended up having a lot of benefits since the littluns were able to talk about the beast with the bugguns. This must have made the littluns feel very safe and welcomed since everyone in the group was willing to listen to their concerns. On the other hand, Jack completely opposes the idea of the conch and thinks many people should not speak at all since their opinion is useless! In chapter six, Ralph says “We don’t need the conch any more. We know who ought to say things. What good did Simon do speaking, or Bill, or Walter?” (p.101-102).

It is evident that Jack is representing a dictatorial government since he is destroying the freedom of speech in the group. This can have many consequences since many people under Ralph’s government might not be able to communicate with one another; This can result in many group conflicts and prevent the group from working together towards a common goal. Jack’s beliefs are very much like Hitler’s since Hitler also thought other people’s opinions did not matter, which resulted in the Holocaust. The ideal leader in every group should be one who respects everyone’s fundamental human rights, not one who takes them away and still expects to succeed. A good leader is one who has a goal which can benefit the whole group in the short term and long-term. In the novel, we can notice that Ralph’s main goal is to get rescued from the island and remain civilized. In chapter two, Ralph says “If a ship comes near the island they may not notice us. So we must make smoke on top of the mountain. We must make a fire” (p.38). This quote helps us get a deeper understanding of Ralphs true intentions, which is to get a ship to notice the fire on top of the mountain. This is an excellent goal since getting rescued will help everyone because it is very obvious they will not be able to survive on this island for a long-time. Ralph’s ego also has a really big role to play in this decision making since he realizes it would be the best for everyone to get rescued. This helps the reader understand that Ralph is not a self-centered person but focuses on the betterment of others. In contrast, Jack has a much different goal which is mostly directed by his id desires. In chapter nine, Jack says “Who’ll join my tribe?” (p.151).

Throughout the novel, we can see Jack’s goal which is to get power and fulfill his id desires. In this specific quote, Jack tries to accomplish his goal by trying to get others to join his uncivilized “tribe,” which has no long-term benefits for the boys. Since this goal does not really benefit anyone else other than him, this goes to show the reader how self-centered Jack really is. To add, this is also very similar to Hitler since he tried to get many people on his side to accomplish his goal just like Jack but Hitler used the help of propaganda. It is always a good idea to appoint a leader that is goal-oriented, but that goal should benefit the society as a whole, not just the leader.

To conclude, Ralph is an ideal leader due to his beliefs and long-term goals, which focus on the betterment of everyone, not just himself. A good leader is very important since it can help everyone work in harmony, while also growing the society. Past history has shown the whole world how much damage a bad leader can do, not just to their group/nation but also the whole world. How would society function without any moral leaders?

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The Theme of Leadership in the Novel “Lord of the Flies” by William Golding. (2019, March 12). GradesFixer. Retrieved October 22, 2021, from
“The Theme of Leadership in the Novel “Lord of the Flies” by William Golding.” GradesFixer, 12 Mar. 2019,
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