The protagonist of
While Ralph proves in many ways a thoughtful, charismatic, and effective leader, his leadership is flawed by his indecision and inability to think clearly in crucial moments. Ralph’s confusion in decisive moments proves too great a weakness for him to maintain his leadership peacefully. Ralph’s unwillingness to resort to fear tactics and violence to lead the boys also makes him ultimately ineffective as a leader. As the protagonist, Ralph represents both the possibilities and limitations of democracy. Ralph is only effective as a leader as long as the boys voluntarily follow his command. Because they aren’t afraid of the consequences of rebelling against Ralph, the boys are quick to leave his tribe and join forces with Jack. In this way, the very qualities that make Ralph a natural leader in the beginning lead to his downfall. By the end of the book, Ralph has changed from a confident, charismatic leader to a frightened, hunted outcast.