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Lord of the Flies- Jack vs. Ralph

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Introduction

Camilla Mauritzen English IB 1K Ms. Lake 22.09.08 Compare and Contrast two characters- Ralph and Jack Lord of the Flies by William Golding is a book about a plane crashing onto a deserted island with the only survivors being children, all of them boys, who were on that plane. This novel was meant to portray boys being just that, -boys. Boys doing exactly what boys would naturally do, not what boys should do in order to become perfect angels. Much of the idea behind the descent from civilization to savagery is based on Golding's real experiences during World War II. They set up a kind of society to stay together, and they hope that they will, hopefully, soon be rescued. Two of the first characters we meet in Lord of the Flies are Ralph and Jack. The two of them are natural leaders and compete with each other to gain the most power. They are both friends and enemies, as they both want the same thing but do not know how to work together to achieve what they want. Ralph is a born leader, he may sometimes be careless, and he really strives to get off the island they get marooned on. He is described as "handsome", with fair hair and an athletic build. ...read more.

Middle

Ralph has a personality which requires him to do the right thing, however he often doesn't succeed in this. An example would be when he first summons the boys together and he tries to save his newly-found friend Piggy from the torments of the crowd. "He's not Fatty," cried Ralph, "His real name's Piggy!" Although this may seem a very decent thing to have done, it was poorly executed. Piggy had confided in Ralph that "I don't care what they call me, so long as it's not what they called me at school. They used to call me 'Piggy'.". Ralph had then completely forgotten this fact and instead managed to tell the whole population of boys Piggy's "secret". However Ralph obviously regrets this later on "Ralph, looking with more understanding at Piggy, saw that he was hurt and crushed. He hovered between the two courses of apology or further insult." Although not specifically mentioned that he did apologize, the fact that he even considered it an option shows regret. From this we see that although there are a lot of positive things about Ralph, there are always negatives. Jack, however, is extremely arrogant, but intelligent at the same time. His name originates from the hebrew word meaning "one who supplants" or "one who enables". ...read more.

Conclusion

There are many points in the book where Jack uses his manipulative skills against Ralph, like when Ralph is chastising him on top of the mountain for neglecting the fire. Even though Jack is in the wrong, he manages to turn the situation around to put him in the right. He does this by apologizing for his mistake. " "There. I -" He drew himself up. "-I apologize" " Although this apology seems in no way satisfactory for what he had done, the hunters revered him for doing so and Ralph's inability to act with the same slyness put him immediately in the wrong. Another situation where Jack's manipulation has outwitted Ralph would be when Ralph calls a meeting to discuss the boys' failures on the island. When the beast is mentioned, Jack does not immediately state that it exists, but rather he says there is no such thing but if there was he and his hunters would kill it. The beast at this point represents fear and savagery, and Jack, realizing the control it holds on the boys, manages to get them on his side by saying he will kill it. This gives Jack the image of the great protecter, at the same time it gives him an excuse to act as the beast itself, being savage and evil in his search for the beast. This is essentially what makes Jack such an antagonistic character. ...read more.

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