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Leadership is essential in a group of people, without it people become uncivilized. A strong person does not always make the best leader however, a great example of this is in the book Lord of the Flies. Jack is the strongest boy, but only focuses on one aspect of survival: food. Ralph is a weak boy and focuses on all aspects of survival: food, shelter, water, and rescue. Ralph is also understanding of other boys feelings and thoughts, and can also represent empathy. He also sets boundaries and rules that give the boys something to focus on other than playing on the island. Ralph’s motivation to get rescued and remain civilized made him the best leader on the island.
Ralph paid attention to all aspects of survival unlike Jack who only focused on one. On page 38, Ralph says “So we must make smoke on the top of the mountain. We must make a fire.” This shows that Ralph was focused on getting rescued by making a fire to produce smoke; fire is one aspect of survival. The fire was a smart decision by Ralph as it gets the boys saved at the end of the book. He also helps makes shelter, another aspect of survival, on page 50 Ralph states, “Been working for days now. And look!” this is in reference to the shelters he and the others built. The boys would only have meat and a fire to cook it on if they were under Jack’s reign.
Ralph was motivated to survive and get rescued and he displays it through the orders he gives.
He also exhibits his cognition to perceive the other boys thoughts and feelings and can respond with empathy, a skill every leader should possess. Ralph takes the boys feelings and thoughts into account before he acts, a great example of this is on page 138 when Ralph stated, “Trouble is, we haven’t got enough people for a fire. You got to treat Sameneric as one turn. They do everything together.” This quote provides evidence to support the claim that Ralph understands thought and feelings because he understands that the twins do everything together at the same time so Ralph decides they should be considered as one. Jack doesn’t take peoples’ thoughts into account before he acts, so he makes decisions that hurt people, Ralph has better “people skills” that make him more fit to be a leader. A leadership skill Ralph also has is the ability to present empathy, on page 72 Ralph says that what Jack did to Piggy, (which was punch Piggy in the stomach and slap him in the face breaking a lens in his specs), was “a dirty trick”, he is showing empathy to Piggy’s situation and can realize that Jack is a savage boy. Ralph has a impulsion to stay civilized and to do so he uses his ability to understand the boys’ thoughts and feelings.
He also understands that there needs to be rules and boundaries to keep the boys from running around doing illogical things. On page 33 Ralph states, “And another thing. We can’t have everybody talking at once. We’ll have to have ‘Hands up’ like at school”, this rule is one of the first put in place to help keep the boys civilized. The boy’s that stayed with Ralph remained civilized compared to the boys that ran away with Jack. Ralph also makes a rule that keeps the boys from defecating all over the place, “We chose those rocks right along beyond the bathing pool as a lavatory.” (Ralph, 80) . This rule may seem frivolous but it restricts the others from making the whole island their bathroom. Ralph’s rules are put in place to keep the boys from becoming savages.
Ralph was the best leader on the island. His motivations were to be rescued and remain civilized. He was a much better leader than Jack who had no rules and only one motivation, food. Ralph is proof that a weak person can make a great leader, this is relevant to today because there are many strong people who make horrible leaders and many weak people who make phenomenal leaders. Ralph’s idea for a fire is what got the attention of the naval officer who rescued the boys. He also kept the other boys’ feelings in mind when making a decision, a key part of being a leader. If Jack was the leader the boys would have killed each other because they became savages and hunted each other. Ralph had motivations, rules, and an understanding of human thoughts and feelings that made him the foremost choice to be chief on the island.
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