Every child, regardless of when, loses their innocence; it is inevitable. In Lord of the Flies, the reader can recognize this law live up to its word, namely in the protagonist Ralph. Upon arriving on the island, Ralph was oblivious to the circumstances he was soon to be subjected to. Ralph’s innocent and childlike mindset has distorted itself into that of a hostile hunter. In William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, the reader witnesses the Loss of Innocence theme and observes Ralph’s descent into impurity. Ralph is first portrayed as just another kid, waiting for his problems to disappear.
He had no plan on how to get off the island, and no reason to worry about it; “daddy” would take care of it for him. Ralph was not concerned about what to do about the situation he was in, and told Piggy why. Ralph tells Piggy, “… Daddy taught me. He’s a commander in the Navy. When he gets leave he’ll come and rescue us… They’d tell him at the airport. ” (7) Ralph relied upon the airport telling his father where their plane crashed, with little to no knowledge as to where they could have landed. Though the odds were very slim, Ralph counted on his daddy coming to get him from the island in the middle of the Pacific.
He was like a helpless little child, grasping his daddy’s hand and waiting to be led. With the increase of time spent on the island, Ralph’s innocence begins to diminish. Ralph is no longer the helpless little child he once was when he first landed; Ralph has evolved from a benign child to a hostile hunter. After going hunting with the boys, Ralph tried to regain the group’s attention as they all focused on Jack’s’ wounded left arm. Ralph reminisced on how he hit the pig with his spear and then began to act as though Roger were the pig, jabbing at him while Roger rushed away.
Soon, the group surrounded Robert, all participating in the jabbing: “Ralph too was fighting to get near, to get a handful of that brown, vulnerable flesh. The desire to squeeze and hurt was overmastering. ” (101) The boys all got hold of Roger and, without any second thought, began to poke at him, hurting him as a result. The “innocent Ralph” would have attempted to prevent the actions, rather than beginning the prodding of Roger. Ralph has evidently lost his innocence and this situation shows no different.
As Ralph spends more time on the island, he, along with the reader, becomes aware of his loss of innocence.. After the deaths of both Simon and Piggy, Ralph has officially become a loner. Everyone else on the island has transferred over to Jack’s group of uncivilized hunters, the polar opposite of the group once run under Ralph’s chieftainship. Knowing that Ralph is now an independent individual in hiding, Jack sweeps the island to ensure that he finds Ralph. After Samneric reveal Ralph’s position, however, Jack lights the island on fire so Ralph cannot escape the fiery wrath of the opposing chief.
After desperately sprinting away from the hunters, Ralph runs into a naval officer. The officer questions Ralph about the group and after answering these questions, Ralph has another moment of clarity and begins sobbing. “… 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. ” (182) After being given the chance to relax, Ralph begins to grasp the concept that he has changed throughout this entire experience. The innocent stage has now passed, for himself and the rest of the group.
Ralph now knows that he is no different from the other children; all children lose their innocence at some point. Golding’s depiction of Ralph from the beginning of the novel to the end of the novel greatly reflects the theme of loss of innocence. Ralph evolves from the helpless child to the hostile hunter after the crises he is put through. Ralph is a representation of every child on the earth and the inescapable loss of innocence. Through Ralph, the reader can learn that a crisis, no matter the scale, can affect the victim.