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Lord of the Flies

Lord of the Flies


by William Golding

Lord of the Flies Ralph Quotes


Quote 1

All at once, Robert was screaming and struggling with the strength of frenzy. Jack had him by the hair and was brandishing his knife. Behind him was Roger, fighting to get close. The chant rose ritually, as at the last moment of a dance or a hunt.

"Kill the pig! Cut his throat! Kill the pig! Bash him in!"

Ralph too was fighting to get near, to get a handful of that brown, vulnerable flesh. The desire to squeeze and hurt was over-mastering. (7.74-76)

Blame it on mob mentality or the lure of primitivity or being called four-eyes one too many times, but our sweet Ralphie just went out of his skull.


Quote 2

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. His voice rose under the black smoke before the burning wreckage of the island; and infected by that emotion, the other little boys began to shake and sob too. And in the middle of them, with filthy body, matted hair, and unwiped nose, Ralph wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of man’s heart, and the fall through the air of the true, wise friend called Piggy. (12.248)

Ralph may be weeping like a kid, but he's not a child any longer. It's not that he's lost his innocence, exactly; it's more like he's lost the idea that anyone is innocent. Pretty rough stuff. Also, check out the way this passage pushes together totally different language. We go from the specific and ugly "filthy body, matted hair, and unwiped nose" to "the darkness of man's heart," and from the uplifting, noble language of "true, wise friend" to … Piggy. What's that juxtaposition all about?


Quote 3

Ralph had stopped smiling and was pointing into the lagoon. Something creamy lay among the ferny weeds.

“A stone.”

“No. A shell.” (1.141-143)

It is Ralph, not Piggy, who both finds and identifies the shell. Piggy goes on to explain the conch’s sound to Ralph, but Ralph is the one who makes the initial discovery and takes possession. This is important, as the conch later enables Ralph (and not Piggy) to become chief.