LOTF Character Profile: Ralph

Just a Word document I made about Ralph, might help with understanding William Golding's use of characterisation with Ralph

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Ralph is the first character we are introduced to in the novel. He is described as
being a fair haired boy, which immediately gives us the impression that he is a good
character. He very soon takes on a leadership role within the camp and is voted as a
chief, the main reason being that he was the one to blow the conch in the first
place, and his ownership of the conch seems to give us the impression of a natural
He seems to mature and grow more favouring of the adult world as the novel goes
on; initially he seems excited about the absence of adults on the island but
eventually begins to seek some rationalisation of the events occurring on the island
like Simon's death, and the disintegration of the camp, in which he is a little more
reassured by Piggy.
Ralph is portrayed as a symbol of order and civilisation throughout the novel, unlike
Jack, who represents savagery and chaos. Whenever there is a problem or room for
improvement, Ralph's instincts are to call a meeting where the boys can discuss the
issues diplomatically and calmly, whereas Jack instinctively turns to conflict and
The difference between Ralph and Simon, who is another `good' character, is that
Ralph represents good intentions, but his moral convictions are open to compromise,
whereas Simon represents a deep sense of righteousness and good human nature.
When Jack's tribe start doing their `pig dance' resulting in Simon's death, Ralph
joins in and plays a part in the murder because of the craving for social
acceptance, but he knows it was wrong because he feels an overwhelming sense of
guilt and turmoil the morning after when he is discussing it with Piggy. However,
there is no particular moment in the novel where Simon does wrong.
Despite Ralph's natural favour of order and a fully functional society, even he is
succumbed to the inner savagery that possesses Jack and his tribe. The first time
he hunts a pig, he feels a sudden excitement and rush of adrenaline from all the
action and the power he exerts over it, but this then leads to a period of guilt as he
realise that even he holds an inner bloodlust and savagery.
At the end of the novel, it is neither a defeat nor triumph for Ralph. In one way,
you could say it ended well for him because the boys were rescued as he had hoped
for all along, and the naval officer's presence seemed to restore some perspective
as the boys suddenly felt shame and guilt for what they had turned into, but he
`wept for the end of innocence' which meant he was deeply upset and ashamed
about the downfall of the boys' goodness and normality.


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