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The Rise Of Social Power In Lord Of The Flies

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There are powerful dictators throughout history for example Adolf Hitler who used his social power with violence, Julius Caesar who broke rules to gain all power for himself and Gaius Cassius who uses his manipulation to persuade people to follow his orders. All those dictators who rose to gain social power resembles the main antagonist from William Golding’s 1954 novel “Lord of the flies ''. In this paper were closing in a deeper understanding on Golding’s demonstration of gaining social power in “Lord of the flies”. This paper will offer a much deeper insight on the main antagonist and how that character rose to social power in the novel and what methods that character used to gain social power. The main question that will be answered in this paper is “How does the main antagonist in “Lord of the flies” rise to social power, and what does that argue about the strategies people use to gain social power?” A bit more context for those who haven’t read Golding’s “Lord of the flies”. Golding’s novel is mainly about a group of young boys from England who are trying to get out of the island but in the meantime building their own society since the boys are all stranded on a deserted island. One of the boys on the island named Jack rose to power using strategies to get that power. Jack is our main focus throughout this paper and analyzing closely on the strategies he used to rise to power on the island.

There are various strategies a person can use to gain social power but Golding had implemented three specific strategies his character Jack used to gain social power on the island. Golding character “Jack” showed twisting the main protagonist Ralph’s words in front of all the boys on the island using manipulation in his favor. Jack disobeys the rules on the island which will create an influence on the young ones and hunterson the island. The final strategie that Jack used is he uses personal relationships with the choir boys also known as hunters who already know him very well before the main plot of the story has happened which will help him over take Ralph’s crew. Golding in his novel has 3 key scenes that will be analyzed later on throughout the paper that shows how Jack used these three strategies to gain social power and their impact that has to all those who are on that island with him.

To get a deeper understanding of Jack’s strategies to gain social power, one must know his use and process of manipulation to gain power in the novel.

Jack often uses manipulation for his personal gain, but often uses his manipulation to convince his hunters and the children on the island to turn against Ralph the leader of the island and prove Ralph is no leader. “ He’s not a hunter. He’d never have got us meat. He isn’t a prefect and we don’t know anything about him. He just gives orders and expects people to obey for nothing. (Golding 126). In this scene Jack is trying to convince everyone on the island ralph is no good for power. Jack choses to slander Ralph’s role as leader where it leads to some of the boys questioning his demands. This moment would help Jack rise to power. He uses this opportunity to manipulate those around him in order to get the power he desired throughout the novel. This strategy he used would eventually lead to convince the young boys on the island to join Jack, and give him all the power he needs to overrule Ralph leaving him powerless on the island.

Despite Jack’s being manipulative when it comes to overrule Ralph, Jack also uses manipulation of the fear inside the boys on the island which shows how he can use the fear within someone for his own personal gain. This fear the boys witness is due to their own head with a beast roaming around the island. Not only did he try to influence the fear within the boys due to the beat, but he also managed to use that fear to create a savagery pure evil within each of the children to be able to control them. “Jack‟s love of authority and violence are intimately connected, as both enable him to feel powerful and exalted. By the end of the novel, Jack has learned to use the boy‟s fear of the beast to control their behaviour.” (Abid 6). The significance of this was that someone else is looking through the same lens as this paper is trying to aim for. This was a crucial part to Jack’s plan to power which builds how he can control the minds of the boys on the island. To get the further idea, Jack wishes to gain power over Ralph which leads him to manipulate his hunters, even though he hasn’t witnessed the beast. Furthermore, it shows us the readers this twisted part of Jack’s character, which is a huge reason why he rose to power to over take Ralph. Jack wants the power, but had to do a lot more to rise to power. What Golding’s “Lord of the flies” wanted to show us is that Jack is the kind of person who would manipulate someone that he knows that can help him gain power, and to also control the minds of the youth on the island in order to strip Ralph’s power so Jack can have that power.

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Golding has textual evidence which backs up this online source who believe Jack uses manipulation when talking about the beast on the island to the hunters and the young ones. At this moment Jack is claiming he now sees the beast raising fear to the children that the beast they created in their own head is actually real which starts to bring tensions. “First, you know now, we’ve seen the beast. We crawled Up. We are only a few feet away. The beast sat up and looked at us. J don’t know what it does. We don’t even know what it is-.” (Golding 126). Jack knew he had the control of the emotions of the other boys because they had the fear inside them. Claiming that he saw the beast would trigger in the back of the kids heads that it’s true putting Jack in a very strong advantage over Ralph because he claimed the beast is like a hunter comparing himself with it showing that he could stop it and Ralph only trying to deny the beast. Golding has that scene to prove that the boys are fearing the beast and would do anything to stay safe even if they have to follow Jack in order to survive.

Upon attempts of manipulation throughout the novel, Jack incorporates that strategy and uses his second attempt to gain power when he starts to break a lot of the rules on the island realizing he already influences his hunters and the youth now he can use that to show Ralph's rules are not so ideal to follow.

Jack always wanted there to be rules on the island in order to keep it efficient and keep the island easy going, and it all because he wanted to become leader. He soon snaps at Ralph with all the demands that Ralph sets upon all the boys and Jack on the island. “And you shut up! Who are you anyways? Sitting there telling people what to do. You can’t hunt, you can’t sing-”(Golding 91). While Jack had begged there to be rules on the island to Ralph, he couldn’t help it if he wanted those rules to follow under his power not Ralphs. He became more aggressive when it came to the rules, who, unlike Ralph was trying to live up to the rules inflecting them to everyone on the island constantly reminding them what they are. This soon leads to another strategy Jack used when he starts the very few rules he and Ralph created before Ralph was given power. His ideal plan was to have all the power on the island but every since Ralph was given the power he slowly gained envy over the power Ralph had over him. Jack began to not listen to the conch which symbolise there way to hear everyone speak, but now knowing he has more power with his hunters over Ralph and already manipulate some of the children, Jack took the chance to snap at Ralph saying he can’t do anything on the island that he is no true leader as Ralph was the only one standing in the way of Jack’s power.

Knowing that Jack pushed forward to create laws, he had known that after he didn’t get power he wanted to break them. This is the moment that Jack starts to not follow the rules he doesn't want anyone to have control over him, and was one of the two reasons Jack started to disobey the rules because no power was given to him . Seeing this a deep view of Jack is shown his view on the laws Ralphs has put upon the island. According to Mr. Spitz,“But his desire for many controls did not of course extend to controls he disliked, to those over himself.” (Spitz 27). In other words Mr. Spitz believes Jack couldn’t follow under Ralph because he wants to be the one making all the rules himself. Ralph had an advantage of making the rules that all kids and foucing Jack to break them to get the young ones on the island understand that Ralph’s rules are pointless and easy to break. This leads to the outbreak of the rules not being followed wreaking havoc upon the island. With this argument another writer noticed this argument where Schuppert agree with Mr.Spitiz and being supported by golding writes,“But this is not the end of the story; the boys experience a power struggle as a group-dynamic process between the rule-conscious Ralph and the more violence-oriented Jack, who finally gets the upper hand and thus destroys the pre-existing rule-based order”(Schuppert 60)

There are good points raised on how Jack wants power and tries to raise the tension on Ralph's leadership and rules in front of the boys on the island. Especially when Golding has text evidence that proves someone else writing correct. There are more moments where Jack is snapping due to the anger he has over Ralph in power. “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 91). As mentioned before Jack is snapping that his side is much better than some rules that were made at the process of the novel. Showing Jack’s deeper character in hatred of others and how power controlled his morals to break rules in order to get what he really wants which is all the power on the island. This shows Jack true colors wanting to control everything and rule with an iron fist.

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The Rise Of Social Power In Lord Of The Flies. (2022, Jun 09). Edubirdie. Retrieved March 1, 2024, from
“The Rise Of Social Power In Lord Of The Flies.” Edubirdie, 09 Jun. 2022,
The Rise Of Social Power In Lord Of The Flies. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 1 Mar. 2024].
The Rise Of Social Power In Lord Of The Flies [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Jun 09 [cited 2024 Mar 1]. Available from:
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