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Lord of the Flies Essay


In the novel The Lord of the Flies by William Golding, the boys turn from well behaved British
schoolboys into savages. There are many things that cause this, like the boy's fear, their young
ages, and their hunger, but the biggest cause of the boys turning into savages is Jack Merridew.
Jack doesn't care about other people, thinks that he is better than everyone else, and thinks that
he is always right and loves violence and bloodshed. After Jack leaves and starts his own tribe,
Ralph and Piggy talk about what they think is causing the lack of order and the conflict on the
islan. Piggy starts: "I dunno, Ralph. I expect it's him. "Jack?" "Jack." A taboo
was evolving round that word too. Ralph nodded solemnly. "Yes, I suppose it must be"(140).
This dialogue between Piggy and Ralph shows that both of them blame Jack for causing all the chaos
and savagery on the island. Another thing that shows how uncivilized Jack has become is how his
tribe reacts when they realizes that without Piggy's glasses, they have no way of lighting a fire
to cook meat with. When asked what he is going to do about it, Jack answers, "We'll raid them
and take fire" (136). Jack wants to do the savage thing and steal the fire, as opposed to the
civilized method of asking for some, which Ralph would have given them. We know that Jack has
bloodlust, but he is no longer content with just killing pigs, and you can see this towards the very
end of the book, when the twins (Sam and Eric) are talking to Ralph (who is now on his own). They
tell him, "They're going to hunt you tomorrow"(188). This quote shows how savage Jack's
tribe has become, and that they have gone from hunting pigs, to hunting a human being. Jack has
taken his savagery to a new level by doing this. Another huge thing that leads the boys into
savagery is their fear, and Jack uses the boys' fear to lure them into his gang of hunters.
"He's a coward himself." For a moment he paused and then went on. "On top, when Roger and
me went on-he stayed back"(126). This quote shows that Jack says things to make Ralph look
weak and scared, and make to himself look like the leader whom the boys can depend on. He is also
the only person to criticize Ralph's leadership when there is only one tribe, and which eventually
causes the boys to split into two groups. In the book, there are two main things that represent
order: the conch and Piggy, and Jack hates both of them. When Ralph and Jack are arguing on Jack's
part of the island and Ralph brings up the conch, Jack responds, "The conch doesn't count at
this end of the island-"(150). By saying that the conch doesn't count, Jack is indirectly saying
that order doesn't count at this end of the island either. Piggy also represents order on the
island, which is probably why Jack hates him so much. Piggy is the one who encourages Ralph to stand
up to Jack whenever Ralph feels like giving up. The most crucial moment that leads to the boys
turning into savages is when Piggy dies, especially because the conch is destroyed at the same time.
You can see the order on the island disappear when "The rock struck Piggy a glancing blow from
chin to knee; the conch exploded into a thousand white fragments and ceased to exist. Piggy was
gone. This time the silence was complete. Ralph's lips formed a word but no sound came out.
Suddenly Jack bounded out from the tribe and begun screaming wildly. "See? See? ... The conch is
gone-"(181). After both signs of order are gone, Ralph feels completely helpless (not to
mention speechless), and there is nothing to stand in the way of Jack's power. When Jack says,
"The conch is gone,"he is implying that order is gone. Jack likes to lead by example; he likes
to show what happens when someone does something that he doesn't like. When the twins are telling
Ralph that he is going to be hunted, they also mention that Jack had Roger sharpen a stick at both
ends. What does this mean? When Jack is leaving the pig's head for the "beastie", he has a
stick sharpened at both ends and after sticking one end into the ground, "Jack held up the head
and jammed the soft throat down the pointed end of the stick which pierced through the mouth. He
stood back and the head hung there, a little blood dribbling down the stick"(136-137). The quote
shows why Jack has a stick sharpened at both ends the first time, and it seems as though he sharpens
a stick for the same reason the second time. He wants to put Ralph's head on display as a reminder
of what happens when you go against him. Jack does a lot to break down the order on the island.
Without Jack on the island, all of the boys would have stayed together as single group and worked
together to survive, instead of splitting up, and having one group (Jack's tribe) directly
attacking the other. Also, without Jack the fire would have remained the most important thing for
the boys. If he never took the boys who were supposed to tend the fire to go hunting for pigs, the
passing ship would have seen the smoke signal, and the boys would have been rescued before they
became completely uncivilized. Not only was Jack the main reason for the descent into savagery, but
if had never been in the book, the boys would have never become savages.



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This article has 4 comments. Post your own now!

Lillynator said...
Feb. 23 at 5:45 pm
This was very helpful...Thx!
 
NoBH8r said...
Sept. 27, 2012 at 11:24 am
i am doing an essay on LOTF and this is actually helping, don;t u kno that teachers can look things like this up. Don't be a meanie. >:(
 
little moron said...
Feb. 21, 2011 at 7:32 am

thank you very much

Osvaldo is right, you are helping the lazy people. But I am not one of them,I have read the whole book already.  This article is very useful, it helps a lot.

Thank you very much!

 
Osvaldo_CThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Dec. 10, 2010 at 7:51 pm
You do know that you are only helping other people cheat; the lazy people who are to lazy to read the book. Really?
 
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