Jack from William Golding's 'Lord of the Flies’ as an Evil Child: Character Analysis Essay

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Are all children born evil? In ‘Lord of the Flies’ by William Golding the main character, Jack, is an innocent young boy that slowly transforms into a complete savage. Throughout this novel, Jack and the other children get stranded on an unknown island. This slowly makes Jack a have progressive and obsessive desire for power and killing through the events of the novel we get to know Jack’s character traits. In addition, Golding uses Jack’s thoughts, actions, and speech to characterize Jack as an aggressive and evil child.

First, Golding reveals Jack’s desire for power over the boys in the character’s thoughts. At the first meeting with all the children, the boys feel that they need to have a chief to decide things. Jack already has his own opinion on who he thinks should be chief of the group. We can see this when Golding writes, “‘I ought to be chief’, said Jack with simple arrogance, ‘because I’m chapter chorister and head boy. I can sing C sharp’” (Golding, 16). At the moment, it is clear that Jack thinks he should be chief of all the boys since ‘he’s chapter chorister and head boy’ and ‘he can sing C sharp’. Jack’s thoughts suggest he wants to be the leader of all boys so he can now have control over the boys and always be in charge. The word ‘arrogance’ has a superiority connotation, which suggests that Jack thinks he would be a better fit for chief compared to the other children. These two personality traits are consistently developed in Jack throughout the novel. Furthermore, when Roger suggested that the boys have a vote on who they wanted for chief, which was between Ralph or Jack, when all the boys voted for Ralph, this soon leads Jack’s freckles on his face to disappear under a blush of mortification. Again, Jack’s speech to show that Ralph becoming chief made Jack mortified. The word’ mortification’ literally means that Jack was embarrassed to even think that the boys outside of the choir didn’t want him as chief. It has a shameful connotation.

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Second, William Golding reveals Jack’s desire for power towards the boys in the character's actions. Here we can see, that Jack may have been wavering between order and chaos, but was still moving toward total anarchy. Golding writes: “‘I went on. I thought, by myself’. The madness came into his eyes again. ‘I thought I might kill’” (Golding, 39). At the moment, it's obvious that Jack’s already feeling savage and is becoming more obsessed with killing. We can see this when Golding explains that the madness came into his eyes again and that he thought he might kill. This shows readers that Jack had been having these sorts of sessions dearly where his archaic mindset has taken control and not act barbarically. Later on, Ralph exclaims to Jack that the boys wanted meat and they need shelter. This soon leads Jack to believe that Ralph was accusing him. Golding shows this when he writes, “Are you accusing?” (Golding, 39). Ralph soon replied that all he was saying is that they worked dashed hard. Yet, this makes Ralph sound as if he really is blaming Jack for not getting the meat, but in reality, Jack and his hunters have been trying to get meat for the others, but haven’t killed the pig for food.

Finally, William Golding reveals Jack’s desire for power towards the boys in the character’s speech. At the meeting, we can see that Jack is trying to take power from Ralph and that Ralph trying to give power to Jack. This is revealed when, Golding writes: “And you shut up! Who are you, anyway? Sitting there telling people what to do. You can't hunt, you can't sing” (Golding, 70). Here we can see that Jack’s having a conflict with Ralph and now’s disobeying the rules that the boys have decided on since the beginning of the novel. He still can’t get over the fact he’s not the leader of the group. Jack’s actions suggest he’s trying to compare Ralph’s job to his own when the author writes: “You can’t hunt. You can't sing” (Golding, 70). After a short time, Jack soon becomes to violate the rules and not listen to Ralph. We can see this when Ralph shouted to Jack that he’s breaking the rules and Jack replied with “Who cares” (Golding, 70). Ralph then exclaimed that the rules were the only thing they got. Furthermore, Jack shouted back: “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, 70). At the moment, it’s clear that Jack has become more encouraged by his success with hunting and the corresponding service of Ralph’s leadership. This further shows a reader how easily a society can slide into anarchy if an overarching authority is absent or crumbles.

In conclusion, Golding uses characterization throughout the novel to convey Jack’s progressive need and desire for power and authority over all the children. From his thoughts, speech, and actions. Readers learn how losing your ability to remain civilized can presumably make a person see the complete savagery and evil in a single human.

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Jack from William Golding’s ‘Lord of the Flies’ as an Evil Child: Character Analysis Essay. (2023, November 15). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 23, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/jack-from-william-goldings-lord-of-the-flies-as-an-evil-child-character-analysis-essay/
“Jack from William Golding’s ‘Lord of the Flies’ as an Evil Child: Character Analysis Essay.” Edubirdie, 15 Nov. 2023, edubirdie.com/examples/jack-from-william-goldings-lord-of-the-flies-as-an-evil-child-character-analysis-essay/
Jack from William Golding’s ‘Lord of the Flies’ as an Evil Child: Character Analysis Essay. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/jack-from-william-goldings-lord-of-the-flies-as-an-evil-child-character-analysis-essay/> [Accessed 23 Jul. 2024].
Jack from William Golding’s ‘Lord of the Flies’ as an Evil Child: Character Analysis Essay [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2023 Nov 15 [cited 2024 Jul 23]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/jack-from-william-goldings-lord-of-the-flies-as-an-evil-child-character-analysis-essay/
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