Lord of the Flies Leadership Essay

In William Golding’s novel Lord of the Flies, the author makes effective use of characters to represent symbols in a democratic society. Although Ralph, Simon and Piggy are real characters in the novel who are involved in difficult situations during their stay on an isolated Pacific island, they also come to represent as the novel progresses aspects of a modern democratic society. A democratic society requires individuals who will provide rules, protect others’ rights, show compassion, seek truth and pursue activities of an intellectual and scientific nature. Ralph symbolizes a leadership based on order and respect of others, Simon represents the humanitarian and seeker of truth, and Piggy stands for the rational, scientific thinker of a democracy.

Ralph establishes his power and reveals himself as a natural leader by respecting, and gaining respect from the other boys while also keeping order amongst one another. He has directness in his manner which the narrator describes as “genuine leadership”(Ch1 P27). Ralph also displays a need for civilized and orderly manner. He displays this at the beginning when he creates a democratic symbol around the conch so that everyone could be heard and respected by others. “And another thing. We can’t have everybody talking at once. We’ll have to have ‘Hands up’ like at school.” … “. I’ll give the conch to the next person to speak. He can hold it when he’s speaking.”(Ch2 P36) This clearly displays natural leadership abilities, and how he is building a democratic system. His civilized and orderly manner is also shown when only he and Simon where willing to build the huts, in which they would live, while the other boys where off hunting, slowly drifting away from civilization. “Been working for days now. And look!”  Two shelters were in position, but shaky. This one was a ruin. “And they keep running off. You remember the meeting? How everyone was going to work hard until the shelters were finished?” … “They’re hopeless. The older ones aren’t much better. D’you see? All day I’ve been working with Simon. No one else. They’re off bathing, or eating, or playing.”  He also demonstrates his leadership and organizational skills by attempting to assign tasks to each of the boys. “We’ve got to have special people for looking after the fire. Any day there may be a ship out there”—he waved his arm at the taut wire of the horizon—”and if we have a signal going they’ll come and take us off. And another thing. We ought to have more rules. Where the conch is, that’s a meeting.” (Ch2 P46-47)

Ralph is putting his heart and soul into leading, respecting, and creating an organized and civilized society around the boys.

Simon has a strong sense of kindness, benevolence and sympathy towards all of the boys on the island, and also has a great desire to discover truth. His sense of humanitarianism is displayed through the helping of others. When it came to the point where the littluns’ could no longer reach the fruit on the trees, it was him who helped them retrieve it.  “Then, amid the roar of bees in the afternoon sunlight, Simon found for them the fruit they could not reach, pulled off the choicest from up in the foliage, passed them back down to the endless, outstretched hands. When he had satisfied them he paused and looked round. The littluns watched him inscrutably over double handfuls of ripe fruit.” (Ch3 P61)  He could have been doing many other things with his time, but instead chose to spend it by helping others in need. He is also a seeker of truth. He knew that the beast was not real and needed to find out the truth for himself. “”Maybe,” he said hesitantly, “maybe there is a beast.” …  “What I mean is . . . maybe it’s only us.” (Ch5 P97) He is compelled to find out the truth, even if it means risking his life in the process. “Simon saw a humped thing suddenly sit up on the top and look down at him. He hid his face, and toiled on.  The flies had found the figure too. The life-like movement would scare them off for a moment so that they made a dark cloud round the head. Then as the blue material of the parachute collapsed the corpulent figure would bow forward, sighing, and the flies settle once more. He crawled forward and soon he understood. The tangle of lines showed him the mechanics of this parody; he examined the white nasal bones, the teeth, the colors of corruption. He saw how pitilessly the layers of rubber and canvas held together the poor body that should be rotting away. Then the wind blew again and the figure lifted, bowed, and breathed foully at him. Simon knelt on all fours and was sick till his stomach was empty. Then he took the lines in his hands; he freed them from the rocks and the figure from the wind’s indignity.” (Ch9 P161) This shows that it was he who built up enough courage to seek the truth about the beast. He also displayed his humanitarianism by freeing the dead man from the entanglement. Simon does not give in to savagery, and continuously displays a strong sense of kindness towards the others. It is his desire to seek truth that eventually leads to his death.

Piggy is clearly the most intelligent boy on the island, he used his rational and scientific thinking to help the boys, but his suggestions where often overlooked. He made many intelligent observations over his time on the island, such as the fact they nobody knew where they where, so how would they get rescued? “”Nobody knows where we are,” said Piggy. He was paler than before and breathless. “Perhaps they knew where we was going to; and perhaps not. But they don’t know where we are ‘cos we never got there.””(Ch2 P37) He also has to remind Ralph that the fire is the most important thing. It is the fire that was going to get them rescued. “Ralph tried indignantly to remember. There was something good about a fire. Something overwhelmingly good.  “Ralph’s told you often enough,” said Piggy moodily. “How else are we going to be rescued?” “Of course! If we don’t make smoke–“” (Ch10 P180) It’s beginning to seem as if Piggy is the only one left who hasn’t begun to turn into a savage. After the scare of the beast, it is also Piggy who comes up with the idea of moving the signal fire onto the beach. It is as if the others don’t care about it anymore, and would rather just not get rescued than to bother keeping a fire up. “”We got no fire on the mountain. But what’s wrong with a fire down here? A fire could be built on them rocks. On the sand, even. We’d make smoke just the same.”” (Ch8 P142) Piggy also displays his vast scientific knowledge by thinking of new ideas.  If Piggy had been heard, it would have been these ideas that would have kept the boys closer to civilization. An example is when he suggests attempting to make a sundial. “”I’ve been thinking,” he said, “about a clock. We could make a sundial. We could put a stick in the sand, and then–“” (Ch4 P70) If the others had listened to Piggy’s excellent ideas, and not ignored his rational decisions, the way things turned out surely would have been more civilized.

In the novel, Simon Ralph and Piggy where forced to overcome many difficult challenges. By creating rules, protecting each others rights, showing compassion, seeking truth and pursuing activities of an intellectual and scientific nature, these boys where able to begin constructing a democracy on the island in attempt to maintain order and civilization. If it was not for the loss of restraint by some of the boys, things surely would have happened differently.

Lord of the Flies Theme

Lord of the Flies: Themes

“When an individual loses restraint, a society collapses into savagery and chaos”

Character: Jack

On the island, Jack begins to lose his civilized manner. As time goes on he begins to drift farther and farther away from the old life. He no longer cares about the way be looks, what he does or how he does it.  He begins to act as if he no longer cares about getting rescued, and just wants to continue on with his savage ways. He even says he wanted to kill a pig before they got rescued. The actions that Jack is demonstrating have begun to influence the other boys. Jack even went as far as to hit Piggy in the face and break his glasses; nothing was done in return as a punishment to Jack, this may also show the others that they too can be violent and shall have no punishment. Ralphs attempt to keep everything in order; to have a society structured by rules has begun to collapse because of Jacks actions. The others are beginning to follow along with him, and bit by bit, they too are turning into savages. Rules are being broken and nobody is doing what is necessary for their main goal to be achieved: to get rescued.


“We want meat” – Chapter 3 Page 55

“Rescue? Yes, of course! All the same I’d like to catch a pig first.” – Chapter 3 Page 58

“If I could only get a pig” – Chapter 3 Page 60

These quotes express Jacks savagery and need to hunt; he doesn’t even remember what rescue it. Even when a ship passes because he let the fire out, he becomes angry because nobody acknowledged his first kill.

“Jack smacked Piggy’s head. Piggy’s glasses flew off and tinkled on the rocks. Piggy cried out in horror.” – Chapter 4 Page 78

This shows Jacks loss of restraint, he can’t hold back and hits Piggy. This definitely shows his loss of restraint, and now others may think it’s alright to follow after Jacks actions.

“The circle moved in and round. Robert squealed in mock terror, then in real pain.” – Chapter 7 Page 126

The boys decide to pretend Robert is the pig and make a game.  All the boys began to jab Robert with their spears, which shows they are starting to have very little respect for someone’s life and well being. Jack had him by the hair, and even Ralph joined in.