Lord of the Flies by William Golding: Overview

Working his way up Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Ralph a character in Lord of the Flies by William Golding achieves needs for self actualization. Based on Ralph’s behavior he fulfills each need of the lower level before going up, thus he supports Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Towards the end of the novel Ralph was hungry and knew his life was in grave danger because Jacks troops were hunting him. He sacrificed his safety for needs to get food, a basic physical need.
Ralph approached Sam and Eric to gather information and hopefully receive some of the pig so that he could eat. Ralph screamed, a scream of fright and anger and desperation…he swerved as a spear flew past and then was silent, running. ” In that scene of the book Ralph was being chased by Jack and his hunters. This action supports Maslow’s Hierarchy because physical needs must be fulfilled before safety. Ralph risked his needs for safety in order to get food. All the younger boys look up to Ralph so he feels their love, affection and belongingness.
After the boys were done building some of the shelters they asked “What should we do Ralph what should we do now? On the island Ralph gained the other boys respect and was made to be chief. After Ralph knew all the boys were behind him and respected what he had to say he was able to move up to the next level on Maslow’s Hierarchy. Ralph gained self esteem in that he possessed the conch shell, thus helping him achieve self actualization or becoming the chief. Once all the boys were gathered on beach by the mighty blow of the conch, they wanted to vote for a chief and Ralph won unanimously. “Let him be chief with the trumpet thing. Ralph raised his hand for silence. ” Right then Ralph had the respect of the boys.

Achieving needs for esteem leading to self actualization in that he had become what he was chief. Ralph achieved Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs because he was “born to be” chief, supporting the theory. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is applicable in real life; people fallow the different levels in everyday activities. However it is difficult to accomplish yet alone maintain self actualization because people struggle with self-esteem and belongingness. Ralph was able to do so because he was one of the older boys on the island which made him more responsible. He stepped up to the table and focused on what he needed to do for his survival.

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