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Jack in Lord Of The Flies Essay


Consider the way Golding presents Jack and his development throughout Lord of the Flies.

Jack is a leader, but his methods are the natural opposite to those of Ralph. Jack is dictatorial and aggressive; he has a strong desire to lead and asserts himself through his prowess as a hunter, which deteriorates into lust for killing. The character of Jack shows how, without the restrictions of adults or society, certain people revert to primitive desires and actions. Jacks character degenerates as the story unfolds. At the start he asserts his superiority through background, but is irresponsible and needs his rewards straight away. He has no patience with constructive, positive things, which is why he grows tired of debates and hut building. His love of hunting stems from the sense of power killing gives him. He abuses his power as a leader, and his freedom from social restraints unleashes the evil latent within his character. This all shows character progression and development of Jack as a young boy and will be shown following on from this.

In the beginning, Golding presents Jack as just the choir boys leader. At the end of chapeter one Jack is unable to kill the pig from I was just waiting for a moment to decide where to stab him. Jack is seen here as being a product of civilisation. He is unable to kill because of the enormity of the knife descendingthe unbearable blood after this situation there is a definite change in Jacks character and behaviours. He has let the group down once and his iron-will will not allow him to repeat this. It seems to be that Jack here was trying to find an excuse for his incompetence in not being able to kill. Golding presents Jack in chapter three in a very interesting way. For instance hes shown as an iron-willed, egomaniacal character and is the primary delegate of the intuition of savagery, violence, and the desire for power and opposes Ralphs civilisation motifs and becomes increasingly wild, especially in the third chapter which is opposite to the first where he was unable to kill and was seen to look weak. It now seems obvious that Jack is trying to make up for his mistake in not being able to kill. Jack soon becomes obsessed with hunting and devotes himself to the task ahead of himself as revealed by I thought I might kill. The use of the word kill in the short sentence definitely stands out and is a sharp comparison of the other words. This sentence shows hostility but also a basic conception of human purpose. Jacks desire for power is apparent and is now obviously audible for all the readers to hear. He cant seem to co-operate for the good of the group and his primal instinct urges to react against order.

In the Huts on the Beach chapter we can see where Jacks themes lie; love of authority and violence. Whilst they are intimately connected, thus both enable him to feel powerful and exalted for instance Jack drew up his legs, clasped his knees, and frowned in effort to arraign clarity. Here he has to justify why he has been so involved in hunting and has been put on the spot by the chief. Here the idea of innate human evil is central because of the cruel behaviour among the boys, usually led by Jack. Significantly he uses his power to gratify their own desires, treating the littler boys as objects for his own amusement. Here we can also see how being on the island has taken its toll upon Jacks character and has lost his sense of loss of innocence because of him turning to senseless bloodthirsty hunters. Jack himself is a big motif of the book because he represents unbridled savagery and desire for power equally he represents a ruling class and somewhat a political leader. However, in comparison in Chapter eight we can see that Jack no longer needs an excuse of hunting, Ralph has lost control of the group so him having to justify his hunting habits previously is now no longer necessary for example Roger began to withdraw his spear. The name Roger means famous with the spear. This represents Goldings interpretation of this in Rogers actions. His part in killing the sow also can be seen as particularly sadistic. Here, in primitive celebration of killing, Jack rubs blood over Maurices face. This is a further example of Jacks commitment to savage life and how far he has developed from chapter three. By killing the sow, Jack and his band have symbolically killed a mother or parent figure. From this moment on, they are savage and brutal. Their innocence is lost.

In the early chapters all the boys, especially Jack seems to enjoy teasing and bullying weaker members of the group. This then rubs off onto the littleuns and even they try to have authority over a more vulnerable creature. Jacks target seems to be Piggy from Piggys glasses flew off and tinkled on the rocks. Throughout the book Piggy shows that clear sight comes not only the eyes but also the mind. Jack seems to see Piggy as an outsider because of this and tries harder and harder to alienate him from the group. At this stage in chapter four the innocence is still present, they wouldnt even dream of killing one another. Jack in this position is seen as an atavist who reverts to the behaviour and attitudes of distant ancestors. Jack redirects his aggression from the pig to Piggy by smashing one of his lenses. This shows him bullying Piggy, Golding says civilisation on the island breaks down in blood and terror because the boys are suffering from the terrible disease of being human, this disease slowly gets worse and reaches a crescendo as seen in chapter nine. Simons death is brutal; all sense of clarity, control and civilization has been lost from the beast, screamed, struck, bit, tore. There were no words, and no movements but the tearing of teeth and claws. Here the beast depicted is Simon, the savage method of biting to kill him represents how Jack and his group have turned into animals, the reason why humans were able to evolve was by using tools like spears to move humans higher up the food chain, the boys however struck with their claws. The crowd is like a pack of savage crazed animals. Previously Jack answers Ralphs appeal to sense and logic with the ritual frenzy of the dance. The chant becomes sinister unlike in chapter four. Simon is trying to tell the boys about the beast, even while he is being battered to death which has biblical links which echos the Crucifixion in the mention of the dead man on the hill. Jack breaking Piggys glasses seems to be a whole lifetime away.

To conclude, Jacks character depiction has come a long way, from just a powerless boy with a few hunting boys quickly turns into frenzies and outbursts of continual killing. Jack abuses his power as a leader which unleashes a primitive irresponsible boy who gains his sense of superiority by chants and blood being spilt. From his character at the beginning to his character at the end almost seems unrecognisable.

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