The elected leader of the boys, initially, and also the protagonist of the story. He isn’t an extreme character, excelling in nothing entirely, but he has the ability to inspire and lead others. He believes in the importance of order and the rule of society. He tries to keep the group focused on their goal of escape but he soon finds that he cannot fight against the tribal instincts exploited by Jack.
‘Don’t you want to be rescued? All you can talk about is pig, pig, pig!’
‘The fire’s the most important thing. Without the fire we can’t be rescued. I’d like to put on war-paint and be a savage. But we must keep the fire burning. The fire’s the most important thing on the island, because, because—‘
‘Which is better, law and rescue, or hunting and breaking things up?’
‘I’m chief. I’ll go. Don’t argue.’
‘Ralph sat on a fallen trunk, his left side to the sun. On his right were most of the choir; on his left the larger boys who had not known each other before the evacuation; before him small children squatted in the grass’