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Democracy in Lord of the Flies

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A range of two leadership styles are depicted in William Golding’s novel, Lord of the Flies, with Ralph representing a democratic leader, while Jack exemplifies a dictator. While on the island, the boys have a choice of following either Ralph, the more sensitive leader who cares about the others, or Jack, the more harsh leader who puts himself before the other boys and strives for power over the others. Ralph uses more of a democratic method. He allows others to contribute ideas. In the beginning of the novel when the boys first discuss who should become the leader, Ralph brings forth the idea of voting, “’Let’s have a vote,’ ‘Yes!’ ‘Vote for chief!’” (22), showing that Ralph is fair and willing to agree with others. Ralph gave the other boys the opportunity to decide who their leader would be. In doing so, Ralph would be seen as the better leader of the two boys since as he is willing to contribute to the entire group as a whole and is not just considering himself.

Furthermore, the best of Ralph’s democratic leadership is shown when the boys are faced with deciding whether to create a fire or hunt for the pig. Ralph, being more logical than Jack, thinks ahead to the future and how the fire could possibly be seen from afar and save their lives. In this passage, “The fire is the most important thing on the island. How can we ever be rescued except by luck, if we don’t keep a fire going? Is fire too much for us to make?” (80), Ralph stresses the idea about how the fire could save their lives and get them off of the wretched island. He knows the fire is their hope to ever returning home.

For this reason, Ralph would be the more effective leader over Jack because he cares not only for himself, but for the other boys on the island. At first, most of the boys oppose Jack and his leadership style and instead join Ralph’s group. As the novel continues, however, Jack’s dictatorship styles begin to appeal to the other boys and they join Jack’s side of the island.  Most of the boys on the island are fascinated by Jack’s way of living and soon migrate to his own society. All of the boys one the island are still children; they would rather do something fun for the moment, like most of Jack’s lifestyle, than follow Ralph’s adult rules.

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