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Golding uses several ways to describe and show what is meant. One of the characters that Golding has used writing to show how he has changed is Ralph. Ralph is firstly described as a child with no sense of responsibility. After he is selected as leader and several situations occur on the island, he becomes a good realistic leader. Ralph is one of the first characters described in the book. Before anything else, Golding introduces two characters. One we later find is called Ralph, another named Piggy.
When Ralph first finds himself on the Island he doesn’t appear to have a vast sense of responsibility, or to be very mature in his thoughts. We can see this as when Piggy asks ‘All them other kids…Some of them must have got out. They must have, mustn’t they?’ Ralph’s reply is to get up and casually walk over to the water.
Golding, instead of having Ralph reply ‘I don’t care’ or another known ignorant phrase has written that he just gets up and casually walks over to the water. This is not only a different way of showing that Ralph is not too bothered about being responsible, but creates a question in the readers’ mind. ‘What is it with this character?’ and can cause them to become tense, wanting to find out more.
In the same conversation with Piggy, Ralph is again shown to have no real sense of maturity. Piggy is showing Ralph a cut on his arm and Ralph again doesn’t seemed to be bothered by it.
‘The fair boy (Ralph) reached out and touched the jagged end of a trunk. For a moment he looked interested’. Here Golding has said straight out that Ralph almost looked interested but really could not care less.
Ralph again shows his ignorance by relying on his father to save him, whereas Piggy knows that is not going to be the case. ‘I could swim when I was five. Daddy taught me. He’s a commander in the Navy. When he gets leave he’ll come rescue us.’ I feel Golding chose this section of Speech from Ralph to show that he is relying on other people and does not think that he has to be dependable. He thinks that everything will be alright because his dad will come and rescue him. He is making no real effort to do things for himself, or for the others.
As the book continues, Ralph and Piggy meet more children on the island and they all decide to elect Ralph as leader. At first Ralph does not appear to have been a good choice for a strong leader as he rushes into things. He gave Jack control of the choir straight from the beginning of his leadership, ‘The choir belongs to you, of course’. Golding has shown here that Ralph is trying to think responsibly by giving Jack control of the choir so that he doesn’t have to control everything himself, Democratically. But also that Ralph rushed straight into this decision. If he had stopped and thought about it, he could have had time to think of all the consequences of this decision. The fact that Jack could use this power to overthrow him.
Later, however, Ralph does realise that he has to think over his decisions before he enforces them. He says ‘Listen, everybody. I’ve got to have time to think things out. I can’t decide what to do straight off. If this isn’t an island we might be rescued straight off’. This quotation also shows that he is beginning to think about being rescued since he has had the power of leadership. He is beginning to think more maturely, responsibly.
Ralph shows signs of a strong leadership as the story goes on. Golding shows these by implementing them in Ralph’s speech and reactions. After he has become leader, his reactions to certain situations change. One of which is the situation that exists when the boys need to find out whether the island is actually an island. Ralph says ‘So we’ve got to decide if this is an island. Everybody must stay round here and wait and not go away…. Three of us will go on an expedition and find out.’ Here Golding is showing Ralph’s thoughts are starting to be trained and precise, reacting upon a situation.
Earlier on in the book Ralph showed that he did not care to hear about Piggy as he stood on his head whilst he was talking to him. Golding later writes ‘There was no place for standing on one’s head. This time Ralph expressed the intensity of his emotion by pretending to knock Simon down; and soon they were a happy, heaving pile in the under-dusk’. This is explained by Golding to show that Ralph’s behaviour has also changed since he has had to become more responsible as chief.
After Ralph has decided that a fire must be kept alight on top of the mountain to send smoke signals to a passing ship and that there had to be somebody maintaining the fire, Piggy took the conch. He stated that the firewood was piled up too much for a small fire. At that moment, the fire began to spread into the dead wood and across into trees. The island began to catch fire. In all the commotion, a smaller child was caught in amongst the fire and wasn’t seen again.
‘That little ‘un….. him with the mark on his face, I don’t see him. Where is he now?’ Ralph was not able to say or act upon this case but was all part of his learning. Golding shows that Ralph realises he has done wrong and needs to think more before he acts by having him repeat part of his speech in amazement and shame. ‘Ralph muttered the reply as if in shame. “Perhaps he went back to the, the—–“‘. Later in the story Ralph remembers the little child and acts upon the situation that caused the memory to appear in the front of his mind.
Another situation that causes Ralph to act and use the power of his leadership is when Jack takes the two twins, who are on fire watch, off to go hunting for meat when they are not really needed. Ralph and Piggy notice that a ship passes the island but at that point there is no smoke from the fire. They rush up to the top of the mountain and try to get some smoke before the ship passes. Unfortunately the ship passes before any smoke was made for signalling. When Jack and the others get back from a successful hunt they are all boasting. One of the first things that Ralph says to Jack is ‘You let the fire out’. Again, this shows Ralph’s change in attitude when he has to react to a situation. He has a sense of responsibility and a rage inside him because nobody listened to his reasoning and rules about the fire.
Ralph continues to show his anger at Jack as he repeats his point that he took the twins away from the fire and let the fire out. He then said to relight the fire ‘Ralph’s final word was an ungracious mutter. “All right. Light the fire”. Here again, Golding is showing Ralph’s realisation of the situation by stating that Ralph is acting maturely with his power even though he may want to just shout at Jack for it.
Ralph later uses his authority to show that he is taking charge. ‘I’m calling an assembly….even if we have to go on into the dark’. This shows that Ralph does not care for messing around and immaturity at this time. He cares about his rules, keeping the fire alight and doing something about being rescued.
In contrast to the beginning of the book, Ralph has taken it upon himself, along with his leadership, to start thinking about being saved after bad situations have occurred and he has realised that daddy won’t save him, its up to him to get everybody saved.
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