Ralph and Jack in Lord Of The Flies

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William Golding's Lord of the Flies is a novel about a group of boys who are lost on a deserted island and must do what they can to survive. At the beginning of the novel, two of the boys, Ralph and Jack, become leaders. These differences will form the main conflict in the story. The differences will cause them to hate each other and the anger that results is a recurring part of the plot throughout the novel. These two boys can be compared by the way they change, the reason for their actions, and the way they use or abuse power.

Both of the boys change a lot during their stay on the island. Ralph begins the novel as a leader and role model to the other boys. But eventually, the group gives in to savage instincts and Ralph's position as leader declines quickly as Jack's position as leader rises. By the end of the novel, Ralph becomes the prey of Jack's bloodthirsty group, and at the very end of the novel ‘"Ralph wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of man's heart, and the fall through the air of a true, wise friend called Piggy"(Golding 225) to show that he will never change, he has found the evil that lurks within all human beings. Jack on the other hand, became more of a savage person as the book progressed. For example, the first time he encounters a pig, he is unable to bring himself to kill it. But Jack soon becomes obsessed with hunting and devotes himself to the task, painting his face like a barbarian and giving himself over to bloodlust. After he first kills a pig "His mind was crowded with memories; memories of the knowledge that had come to them when they closed in on the struggling pig, knowledge that they had outwitted a living thing, imposed their will upon it, taken away it's life like a long satis...

... middle of paper ... battle of wills between Ralph and Jack culminating in Jack and his tribe hunting down and smoking Ralph out of the forest, which ultimately led to their rescue. At this point, democracy in the shape of Ralph seemed to prevail over totalitarianism in the shape of Jack who faded into the shadows.

Overall, Ralph and Jack were very different characters. Ralph began the book as a hopeful leader with high ideals and in the end was feeling hunted and squashed by dictatorship and anarchy. He was motivated by the hope of rescue and was more of a democratic leader. Jack began the book as a choirboy and ended up taking Ralph's place as leader. He was motivated by hunting and killing and led a dictatorship. These differences were the main cause for the conflict that ensued between them.


Golding, William, Lord of the Flies, 1954, Faber & Faber, London
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