How Does Jack Change in William Golding's 'Lord of the Flies': Essay

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During our daily lives, people face tribulations from time to time. But how do individuals deal with those challenges? William Golding illustrates how Jack in the novel ‘Lord of the Flies’ faced his predicaments apart from adversity by indicating the true form of human nature, that humans are wired to think instinctively rather than wisely, more savage than civilized. Jack was a dear virtuous boy whose innocence towards the world was stripped away from him as soon as Jack set foot on the island, which transpired alarming qualities to the reader, considering the fact that Jack had failed to recall his civility and humanity. Therefore, Jack’s tenderness and benevolence are altered in William Golding's novel. The author leads us on a journey of a boy who supports the notion that one’s desires are most important and should be followed, regardless of reason or morals. Upon a closer analysis of the writing, one can argue that Jack is patriotic and did what had to be done to survive, but Jack is the kind of person whom Golding believed everyone would eventually become if left alone to set one’s own standards and live the way one naturally wanted. When reason is abandoned, only the strong survive. Jack personifies this idea perfectly.

In Chapter 2, Jack upholds that the boys are to stick to the principles of the British on the island. “I agree with Ralph. We’ve got to maintain rules and obey them. After all, we’re not savages. We’re English, and the English are best at everything. So we’ve got to do the right things” (Golding, 42). This announcement is unexpected and ironic because Jack started as a civilized being but changed later. Jack believes the boys should act courteously based that they're British. This foreshadows the loyalty the boys have to Jack later on in the book because they are all from one place.

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Later in ‘Lord of the Flies’, William Golding uses Jack's overexcitement and thrill of injuring and slaughtering the pig to introduce the heaps of brutality that initiated Jack's loss of his civility. The first occasion where he is savage is the point at which he murders the pig. “[Jack] tried to convey the compulsion to track down and kill that was swallowing him up” (Golding, 47). The word 'compulsion' demonstrates his inclination to kill the pig isn't something Jack has any authority over; it is practically instinctive for him and a habit. This is fortified by the possibility that this inclination was “swallowing him up” (Golding, 60). He believed there was a sense of obligation to prove he is a 'man'. Therefore, this aspect was assuming control over his life. Murdering this pig turned into his utmost priority. Soon he achieved his goal and got his hunters to murder and torment the sow, whilst reciting around the fire, “Kill the pig! Cut her throat! Spill the blood!” (Golding, 80). This is a serious upsetting scene; the group is extremely young for such savage activities. The serenade shows how savage they have become under Jack's rule. The words ‘cut’ and ‘spill’ is emphasizing bloodshed. The boys are acting more viciously than anticipated. This causes Jack to appear interesting to the reader because he presently persuades numerous young men to become savages as well. Subsequently, Jack asks the boys “Eat! Damn you!” (Golding, 86), he irately requests the boys to eat in affirmation of his prosperity as a hunter. Jack sees that his wrath evokes intimidation from them because he desires power and controls others. He will figure out how to utilize this wrath and the dread it instigates to maintain their loyalty through the remainder of the story. In Chapter 7, Jack's expanding pitilessness develops after the boys vow to kill the boar. Jack recommends utilizing a little 'un next time when they practice instead of the boar. The ritual dance gains power, almost killing Robert and foreshadowing an increase in his savagery. Afterward, when Jack covers his face in paint, his primal nature arises, returning to the old tendencies of primates. He strongly takes the fire and moves naked before Ralph. Having usurped authority, Jack turns out to be progressively savage, beating Willard in Chapter 10. Jack does this to emphasize that he is the alpha of the group. This indicates implicit symbolism due to the fact that an animal attempts to establish dominance to remain in power.

Another crucial aspect that caused Jack’s sympathetic qualities to change is his change in leadership. In Chapter 1, Jack asserts some authority as the leader of the boys, dependent on some degree of subjective requirements. “I ought to be chief... Because I'm chapter chorister and head boy. I can sing C sharp” (Golding, 27). Nonetheless, Ralph becomes the leader, however, he allows Jack to obtain some of the power. While Jack has some leadership qualities, he is surpassed by Ralph's appeal to build up cultivated principles for the boys. Jack was a compromising individual until Ralph’s success triggered his jealous side. Later in Chapter 5, Jack feels that being a hunter is a higher priority than maintaining Ralph's principles. He starts a rebellion and believes that “Bollocks to the rules! We’re strong – we hunt! If there’s a beast, we’ll hunt it down! We’ll close in and beat and beat and beat!” (Golding, 106), so he esteems murdering more than aiding the development of the island. Jack's savagery develops as he starts setting up a dictator framework concentrated on hunting and barbarity. Hunger overclouded his judgment. In response to the problem, his human qualities are becoming more savage.

At last, he gets rid of Ralph, he overtakes control. Nonetheless, Jack has reached the most terrible rendition of himself as a result of being in a place without rules. To intensify his ever-growing barbarity, he commits the gravest sin known to man, murder. Simon was leaving when they assault him when Jack shouts that Simon is the so-called ‘beast’. They execute Simon. In Chapter 10, Jack asks Stanley how they could kill the beast, that is a vital homicide. “No! How could we – kill - it?” (Golding, 156). In Chapter 10, Jack asks Stanley how he defeated the beast. Jack convinces the boys (and arguably himself) that it was the beast they killed and refuses to admit that he helped brutally murder Simon. Even though the boys quietly suspected it, Ralph and Piggy admit to each other that they knew it was Simon. Jack perpetuates the 'myth of the beast' on his side of the island. This is arguable because in keeping fear of the unknown alive on the island, Jack is better able to lead in an authoritarian way. He convinces the boys that even though that night he and the boys had killed the beast, they didn’t, and he suggests leaving sacrifices for it instead. Further evidence that shows bloodlust is when he attempts to wear out Ralph to attempt to annihilate him. Simultaneously Piggy accuses Jack of taking his glasses, and Jack surges at Ralph with his spear. Ralph is incensed and calls Jack and his group “painted fools” (Golding, 207). The author uses an allusion here about how they have become painted fools like in the Renaissance era to try to show them that they are acting silly. Jack battles Ralph whilst Piggy attempts to re-establish order, yet is struck by a stone and tumbles to his demise; Jack undermines Ralph's power, flinging his spear at Ralph. Problems have faced Jack, and he went from a boy who would play games to a mass murderer. He lives in denial of any wrongdoing he has done (especially the murders of Piggy and Simon) because he had lost sight of what’s actually right and wrong and he is threatened that he would lose his position of power just like when the alpha kills the beta because they are a possible threat that could take power.

In conclusion, Golding features the intriguing character of Jack by developing his personality develop from a reasonably pleasant boy to one who begins to challenge authority and becomes the dictator on the island. He is an unstable force that has been manifested by the dilemmas he experienced and shows what happens if the rules are taken away. Jack is the little savage in all humans that get out as a defense mechanism in the face of adversity.

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How Does Jack Change in William Golding’s ‘Lord of the Flies’: Essay. (2023, November 15). Edubirdie. Retrieved June 16, 2024, from
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