In I want to go home” (140)

In the novel, Lord of the Flies, Ralph negatively adapts his character as the leader of the boys into a savage, just as the rest of the group. Using word choice and characterization, William Golding reveals Ralph’s savagery throughout the novel.
Firstly, Ralph’s role of leadership is revealed in the beginning of the novel. Golding reveals this when he writes, “Ralph had stopped smiling and was pointing into the lagoon. Something creamy lay among the ferny weeds. ‘A stone.’ ‘No. A shell”(15). In this moment it is clear that Ralph discovered the conch and took possession of it. With this action, the conch enables Ralph to become chief of the group. Then Golding illustrates Ralph’s leadership with the following: “‘All this I meant to say. Now I’ve said it. You voted me for chief. Now you do what I say.’ They quieted, slowly, and at last were seated again. Ralph dropped down and spoke in his ordinary voice” (81). This word choice suggests that Ralph has taken control of the boys and their obedience to rules.
Another way that Ralph’s transition from leader to savage is revealed through the climax of the novel. Simon has an encounter with the Lord of the Flies while in the forest glade and comes to the realization that the beast is not in a physical form, but rather something evil that exists within each boy on the island. The boys decide to kill Simon and Ralph was part of this. He felt extreme guilt after he realized what he had done. Golding reveals this when he writes Ralph to confess, “I’m frightened. Of us. I want to go home, Oh God, I want to go home” (140) Altogether, these details allows a reader to understand that Ralph has come to the realization that evil exists within all human beings, no matter how hard one attempts to conceal it. Then Golding illustrates Ralph’s realization and fear of evil with the following: “‘You can see who I am!’ Ralph shouted. ‘Stop being silly!’ He put the conch to his lips and began to blow. Savages appeared, painted out of recognition, edging round the ledge toward the neck. They carried spears and disposed themselves to defend the entrance” (106-107). This further shows the reader that Ralph uses his own identity to reason with the boys who have become savages.
Finally, a reader can identify that Ralph feels sorrow towards Simon and Piggy’s murders and is becoming a leader that is returning to his own innocent self. Golding reveals this when he writes, “The tears began to flow and sobs shook him. He gave himself up to them now for the first time on the island; great, shuddering spasms of grief that seemed to wrench his whole body” (186). The word choice suggests that Ralph is disgusted with himself and what he had become. Then, Golding illustrates Ralph’s loss with the following: “Ralph wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of man’s heart, and the fall through the air of a true, wise friend called Piggy” (225). In this moment it is clear that Ralph is no longer the person he used to be.
The boys lost themselves and their identities while on the island and became savages in order to survive. As they painted their faces, they were no longer young, innocent boys, but rather creatures filled with evil and resentment. With losing themselves, they have lost their youth, innocence, and self control. Ralph came to realize all the changes within himself in order to become a leader and survive on the treacherous island.


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