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Compare and contrast the characters of Ralph and Jack - How do their characters affect their leadership styles?

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Introduction

Compare and contrast the characters of Ralph and Jack. How do their characters affect their leadership styles? Ralph represents democracy. He rules with fairness and is not afraid to compromise. The boys on the island follow him through choice and not by force. Ralph plans for the future from the beginning and tries to replace the adults which are not present on the island, whereas Jack represents dictatorship. He rules by fear and violence. The boys on the island follow him because they are scared of the consequences if they do not. Jack's plans are superficial, he does not plan for a way to be rescued like Ralph does, and instead he organizes hunts and fun. The message Golding is trying to portray is that there is good and evil inside us all. The different leadership styles on the island represent the different ways in which the world outside the microcosm is run. Jack and his 'tribe' represent Hitler and the fascist regime that was around during the time when Golding wrote this book. Ralph and his 'tribe' represent the democracies opposing the fascists. Ralph is introduced to the reader on the first page as 'the boy with fair hair' and his physique is described as that of someone who 'might have made a boxer'. ...read more.

Middle

Although Jack does not lead all of the boys, he always maintains control of the choir who almost immediately transform into hunters. Jack is charismatic, attractive and manipulative. He is also irritable and quick to anger. When the first pig escapes he '[snatches] his knife out of its sheath and slam[s] it into a tree trunk'. Jack has no time for weakness and this includes the littluns and especially Piggy whom 'talk[s] too much'. Jack is frequently found saying 'shut up, Fatty'. Jack wants to make his own rules and is power hungry. His primitive desires and feelings mean that he feels at home in the jungle of the island. Due to his power hungry ways, toward the latter part of the novel, Jack decides to make his own 'tribe'. '[He] and [his] hunters [were] living along the beach by a flat rock. [They] hunt and feast and have fun.' Jack says 'if you want to join my tribe then come and see us'. He possesses no qualities such as deliberation and logic and rules his tribe purely by terror and aggression. This leadership style and his violent reactions soon result in the murder of Simon. One night, during a feast, following Jacks lead of 'do our dance, come on, dance' all the boys start chanting 'kill the beast, cut his throat, spill his blood, do him in'. ...read more.

Conclusion

It is later revealed that Jack wanted Piggy's glasses to make a fire at 'his tribes end of the island'. In the following chapter, castle rock, Ralph goes to visit Jack to 'see about the fire and Piggy's specs'. The confrontation ends with Jack refusing to back down or even compromise and this results in Piggy's death. At the end of the novel it is obvious that many of the boys have disregarded civilization, including Jack. They are all covered in clay and paint, so much so that the tribe becomes a 'pack of painted niggers'. This remark shows that it is no longer possible to distinguish whether the 'tribe' are a group of black or white boys. It is, however, very easy to distinguish Jack's tribe from Ralph's group. The face paints also show that the savagery is taking over and Jack is letting it. Jack has become obsessed with hunting and has no regard for matters such as being rescued. Although he stole Piggy's glasses, the fire he has created with them is no more than 'a cooking fire'. This shows that Jack has not the ability for long term commitment to any project. Jack has become callous and this has lead to two deaths and all but three boys regressing to savage behavior whereas Ralph has managed to hold on to the basic civilized behavior. ...read more.

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