"Lord of the Flies"

Essay by blitz-aceHigh School, 10th gradeA+, December 2005

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In "The Lord of the Flies", written by William Golding, Ralph was originally voted leader, but as the story continues, Ralph starts to lose his leadership over Jack. As you read the story you see how Jack's attitude, personality, and decision-making help him to overcome Ralph's overall control of the boys on the island. The power shifts from Ralph to Jack because the boys see that Jack's style of leadership much more effective for keeping them alive and well.

The priorities between Ralph and Jack differ, and are key to the survival of the boys on the island. When first on the island, Ralph's first decision after finding the conch was to try and get all the boys off the island as quickly as possible, and to do that, they needed to start building a fire immediately. This was, if not the most key priority for Ralph, and it hand to be tended to all the time.

Jack had to tend to the fire most of the time, and he didn't like it much. On pg 69, it shows how Jack did not want to tend to the fire, so that he could go what he what he does best, hunt. Even though there was a ship on the horizon, Jack neglected his duty, just to go hunting and disobeying an order from Ralph. All he wanted to do was hunt: "We can light the fire again. You should have been there with us, Ralph. We had a smashing time. The twins got knocked over-." This shows that Jack didn't care about anything or anyone else on the island accept to hunt and to have fun. From the first time Jack took a look around the island, he was obsessed with hunting; it was all he thought about all day and night. The priorities of the two were much different. Ralph's goal was a long-term goal and to get them rescued, while Jack's was a short-term goal to just keep them alive. Jack's purpose of leadership is to just hunt and have fun. This short-sightedness gets him many followers for his group. The boys on the island wanted to see results as soon as possible. They saw that Jack was more capable of being leader because he was able to provide food for the group, while they did not see Ralph do anything for the group except wanting people to look after the fire. Jack, with his skills with the spear, is able to recruit followers very easily and have them what he wants, from killing a pig or from stealing from Ralph's tribe. This lack of faith and trust in Ralph makes the rest of the boys in the group begin to look towards Jack for answers, and therefore letting him overcome Ralph's initial control over the boys. With his new power as chief of his group, he can now do things his way without anyone else interfering with his plans.

Jack's attitude towards how he handles certain situations help also help him to overcome Ralph's control over him and the rest of the group. To convince everyone else that he is a much more worthy leader than Ralph is, he decides to exploit Ralph's weaknesses. As the group starts to self-destruct, Jack and his group of hunters start to have a different opinion about Ralph. Jack knows at this point on the island, that the group's confidence in Ralph is hanging on by a thread because; they have not seen any recent success in his ideas. When the group decides to go look for the beast, everyone else Jack thinks that Ralph is a coward because he stayed behind. Jack decides to call a meeting telling all the boys that Ralph isn't a suitable leader and that he is a coward who doesn't provide for the group. (Pg 126) "He's like Piggy. He says things like Piggy. He isn't a proper chief."

When he tells this to the rest of the group, they seem very uneasy and they don't know whom to turn to for leadership. Should they stay with Ralph and hopefully their fire will get them rescued? Or, join Jack and just hunt and have fun everyday? Jack knows that the boys on the island are very depressed and that they are looking for a change and for a better lifestyle, so he decides to come to power by starting a group of his own comprised of people who want to hunt. With this new group, Jack makes himself the outright leader, where he is in charge of all the decisions.

Jacks' fascist idea of power makes him very popular within the group and since his results are effective, Ralph's democratic society isn't as strong as Jack's dictatorship. When the story begins and Ralph finds the conch that is the beginning of a democratic society. The conch symbolizes democracy and order by only letting one person talk at a time. Jack doesn't like being under the rule of another but he bears with it for a long period. As time passes, Jack can't take much more of Ralph's democratic society and decides that he will leave Ralph's group and start his own dictatorship, where he is the outright leader of the group and where he will provide for them. (Pg 127) "I'm going off by myself. He can catch his own pigs. Anyone who wants to hunt when I do can come too." After Jack leaves Ralph's group and forms his own, he automatically makes himself leader without the consent of anyone else: (Pg 129) " We'll hunt. I'm going to be chief."

They nodded, and the crises passed easily. This shows Jack's obsession with power. He makes himself leader of the group right away without even having a vote. If obsession with power and status isn't enough for Jack, he depends on the exploitation of weaknesses and intimidation to achieve what he wants and to overthrow Ralph's democratic society.

Jack's attitude, personality, decision-making are all ways that he is able to overcome Ralph's control over him and the rest of the boys and is able to form a much more powerful group of his own. The power shifts from Ralph to Jack because the boys see that Jack's style of leadership much more effective for keeping them alive and well.