Lord of the Flies

by William Golding

The Hired Girl

Laura Amy Schlitz

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9. Ralph: The complicated "hero."

Lord of the Flies

William Golding, 1954
Famous for: The Beast, a talking pig’s head on a stake, a horrific descent into chaos and savagery.

protagonists in literature like Lord of the Flies | 60second Recap®In William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, Ralph is the boy you want to root for, right? He’s charismatic—and a born leader. And you’d rather Ralph have the victory than evil Jack, king of the savages, wouldn’t you? But is Ralph really a hero? Check out this Recap for the secret to William Golding’s protagonist.

A word about our protagonist, Ralph: He’s not really a hero.

Speaking of complicated heroes: 60second Book Review: Payback TimeProtagonists. You know, the character you want to root for. The character you should root for. But here’s something to remember about Ralph, the protagonist in Lord of the Flies.

He’s a complicated hero. In fact, he might not be a hero at all.

Ralph is charismatic, athletic, and a born leader. He does try to build a society and to protect the littluns. In spite of some of his treatment of Piggy, he is generally committed to morality. But here’s where things get a little fuzzy.

Literary critics will tell you that the moment Ralph tosses the Lord of the Flies on the ground and takes up the stake to fight against Jack and his tribe of savages is Ralph’s moment of moral victory.

Really? Ultimately, Ralph is helpless to triumph over savagery and immorality. He relies on adult society for rescue. He survives not because of his own innate goodness; he survives because the navy shows up.

Do we root for Ralph because we have no one else to root for. Is that enough to make a hero? You decide.

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