Authority of Leadership in Lord of the Flies by William Golding

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“‘The rules!’ shouted Ralph. ‘You’re breaking the rules!’ ‘Who cares?’ Ralph summoned his wits: ‘Because the rules are the only thing we’ve got!’” (91). In Lord of the Flies, Ralph says this to Jack at one of their assemblies, after having berated the boys for neglecting the shelter building and the signal fires. Ralph’s leadership is built on these rules, and Jack’s breaking of them causes an ideological conflict between them which eventually leads to Ralph’s loss of power among the group. He tries to create a just and orderly society to fulfill their needs and allow them to be rescued, but the boys eventually find Jack’s churlish lethargy and excess to be more desirable. Desirable, as defined by the Oxford English Dictionary, can be …show more content…

Piggy urges Ralph to use what power he has left by calling a meeting: “’What’s grown-ups going to say?’ cried Piggy again…The sound of mock hunting, hysterical laughter, and real terror came from the beach. ‘Blow the conch, Ralph...You got to be tough now. Make ‘em do what you want.’ Ralph answered in the cautious voice of one who rehearses a theorem. ‘If I blow the conch and they don’t come back; then we’ve had it. We shan’t keep the fire going. We’ll be like animals. We’ll never be rescued.’” In this situation, Piggy is still worried about the punishment of his previous life. He is the closest thing to an adult on the island, and Ralph is the only one who advocates listening to him, illustrating Ralph’s connection to the rules of traditional civilization, which the other boys despise and want to escape through the island. After showing blatant disregard to their “chief’s” rules, they decide to escape the constraints of Ralph’s assemblies and embrace their inner savagery with Jack. Piggy urges Ralph to blow the conch, the symbol of his power throughout the book, but Ralph understands that his form of leadership is becoming the less desirable option to the boys: if he calls an assembly and the other boys do not respond, its power, and his civilization, will have completely disintegrated. Ralph constantly emphasizes their responsibilities on the island—specifically, tending to the signal fire.

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