Ralph and Jack in Lord of the Flies

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“The battle between good and evil runs through the heart of every man” – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. We truly have to be in a situation of life and death in order to know if we are internally good or internally bad. Lord of the Flies by William Golding, gives an accurate representation of what happens when limits, restrictions, and rules are removed through Jack. Initially, all boys want to construct a system of rules but savagery ensues almost immediately within. Ralph is not able to maintain civilization because Jack decides a major change to happen. He [Jack] eventually ends up with power and his most basic desires to be ruler. When there are no limitations to being free, Jack turns reckless and deteriorates the group through a series of progressions.

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Jack enters the novel as a knowledgeable english boy that is aggressive yet welcoming to the rest of the group. After the plane crashes Jack is on Ralph’s side and supports him on the topic of being rescued. He as well as the rest of the group ,do not realize that rescue will not come anytime soon. As he supports Ralph in his statement that follows, he is looking for democracy and being mature enough to choose a leader instead of automatically spreading around the island, “‘We’ve got to decide about being rescued.’”(22). Throughout the novel thus far this is the only moment where he has common sense and actually cares about the situation he and the other boys are currently in. Jack then realizes that someone needs to assign jobs, and he volunteers to take the job of hunting, not only for a small portion but for the group as a whole. He along with the littluns notice a pig run across from them. The text states, “‘We’ll get food’ cried Jack ‘ Hunt. catch things… until they fetch us.’”(30). Since he has only seen a pig, all that is in his mind is to hunt, and eat in order to survive. Now food is not a problem to him and now the rest of the group. Here he is still civilized and cares about feeding the others and volunteers to take on a serious job.

Killing pigs in his own skin does not seem right to him, so he paints his face to have a different persona. He wants to be liberated not only from the other boys but himself. When he kills the pig in his own skin, he feels shame and self consciousness, so he takes on the role of a whole different persona.(CC) He then dramatically changes his own original person and actions, “Jack planned his new face. He made one cheek and eye socket white, then he rubbed red over the other half of his face and slashed a black bar of charcoal across from the right ear to the left jaw… he looked in astonishment no longer at himself but at an awesome stranger”(63). Now that he sees himself as a stranger he feels free to let out his inner beast. As he paints his face, it removes a part of civilization and humanity. After he does begins to slaughter and starts ordering around, the boys obey the commands given by Jack because “the mask compelled them”(). As soon as he realizes they actually do more when he has the mask on, he gets relieved a little from responsibilities. He now doesn’t need another form to tell them he is the one in charge. As he wears the mask, it gives that level of freedom so that later it makes it easier for the evil inside him to come out.

Jack wants to integrate fear into the littluns by placing the pigs’ head on a stick so they can feel like the only safe place is with him since he is a hunter and now the one in charge. He says that it is to be offered as a gift. He thinks that the best tool to bring all the boys on his side is to apply in fear. The easiest way to do so is to offer the dead pig “‘This head is for the beast. It is a gift.’”(131). Since the littluns are confused on the reality of the beast, Jack places fear in them so they can join his tribe and make it bigger. He wants them far away from civilization and innocence. At this point, he has lost all of his former fear and now feels confident with his ability to make the littluns follow him. None of them have a right to talk because if so then they will vanish like Simon and Piggy. This is what Jack wanted the fear to do to them. All of them have to obey, they have no other choice. Jack has now become the dictator because he wants to be superior over everybody else. He wants everyone under his rule, “Suddenly Jack bounded out from the tribe and began screaming wildly. ‘See? See? That’s what you’ll get! I meant that. There isn’t a tribe for you anymore! The conch is gone–’”(181). Jack is now a killer that is full of pride and does not care about what he does since there are no consequences for his wrong doings. He is no longer interested in killing animals for food but killing humans for dominance and power. Throughout his whole progression he obviously bites off more than he can chew with power.

When limitations cease to exist in the group, Jack takes advantages of the certain situations and does whatever he desires. The group initially had plans on what to do when they had crashed. It began with Ralph giving ideas on how to survive then Jack scrambling them up and ruining everything. Ralph cannot maintain the group civilized as it soon spirals into Jacks’ evil dominance. Jack obliterated everything that could have saved them a long time ago as a group. Rules first imply then cease to exist because of evil behavior.

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Ralph and Jack in Lord of the Flies. (2021, Apr 18). Retrieved March 21, 2023 , from

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