Jack in lord of the flies

an essay about the significance of Jack

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  • Created by: aliimz
  • Created on: 02-11-11 15:12
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The author, William Golding, uses the main antagonist, Jack, to portray how the desire for power and
lust, combined with the lack of negotiation leads to the fall of civilisation. This desire that Jack has can
be linked to the fall of society in Germany, when Hitler yearned for control. The leading savage, Jack
holds a strong principle towards hunting and savagery; he creates savagery by turning the boys
against Ralph and their previous lives......... Golding wrote this story as an allegory and Jack should be
interpreted as not wanting, or needing, rescue. These kids are not, allegorically, kids, but characters
in a microcosm that is meant to represent the civilization outside the island in the adult world, which is
at war.
At the start of the novel, the boys are intimidated with Jacks long, black cape and his format of order;
when he orders the choir boys. Even though he is "ugly without silliness" he is "simply arrogant" and a
leader with strong will. He always has to present himself good in the other boys' eyes, but one can
say looks can be deceiving. Unlike Ralph, Jack demands to more primitive needs in the children and
relies on his position as leader of the choirboys to rationalize his power. He gains more respect
throughout the novel and uses this to overthrow Ralph in his authority and power. Fear is a running
theme in the novel and this is used to Jacks advantage to take control of the boys. This is done by
getting fear inside the boys as to gain more recognition and the boys' admiration. Piggy was an easy
target due to his physical disabilities and so by taking this into consideration, Jack humiliates him in
front of the others:"You're talking too much," said Jack Merridew. "Shut up, Fatty." He discriminates
Piggy at the start of the novel knowing that Piggy wouldn't stand up to him and thus letting the other
boys know not to mess with Jack. Golding connotes to the reader that discrimination was present at
the time and was used as to display anyone who went against leaders. Jack can be compared to
Hitler; who discriminated and killed anyone who hadn't got blonde hair and blue eyes. Moreover,
Jack may size up Piggy as he reminds him of adults and he is an outcast, therefore to seize the
opportunity of having fun he must put down those that are against him.
At points in the novel, when he couldn't kill the first pig and feels that the boys are about to think of
him as weak, or cowardly he uses his knife as if it were a symbol of his superiority: "Jack slammed his
knife into a trunk and looked round challengingly". His knife like the conch, gives him power and
authority over his choir group, a weapon that he would use against anyone who dares to ridicule
him. The knife is the only modern weapon on the Island, therefore it shows that he can injure anyone,
but no one can injure him. The knife is a symbol of his savagery, it can also be seen as predation; that
the boys on the island are his prey. This foreshadows the death of Simon and Piggy. By not killing the
first Pig, Jack's desire for hunting and power grows stronger; this contributes to a chain of mass
Jack is a natural born leader' in fact he was leader of the choir in his school, this shows that his
previous civilisation helped him in becoming the domineering person he is. At first the boys turn away
from Jack, not accepting his violent leadership towards the boys in the choir, but eventually found
comfort in his strength and safety from the beast. Through leadership, they found Jack more fit as
they can relate their inner instincts with him more efficiently. He wants the same things they do;
hunting, they want to join his tribe as they feel safer and find that hunting with Jack is more
exhilarating and fun. He understands their fears of their previous lifestyle and helps the boys to
overcome them by making them stronger. Jacks abolishment of the Democratic society, totally
contradicts the norms in Britain, but one can say that it helps to understand the hardships of the

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Germany. That is to say, through predicament law and order, the Germans felt hopeless
and therefore had to follow their last hope, Hitler. With Jacks totalitarian leadership, he was able to
organize the group into a useful and productive society and ends up getting them rescued by setting
the island on fire. The irony to this was that Jacks self-motive was to kill Ralph and eliminate any
opposition, but in reality he ends up saving him.…read more

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This shows that he has lost hope of getting rescued and therefore it shows
that he has further plans on the Island.
Jack also loses interest as well as his patience with the conch. "Conch! Conch! shouted Jack. We don't
need the conch any more". The conch is a symbol representing power, authority, and the call of
civilization. The conch was seen as a token of their value. The conch was a rule that had been establish
in the boys' first society.…read more


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