The character of Jack is complicated and fascinating as he continues to develop in many ways, for better or for worse, throughout the novel. While some of his qualities remain the same, like his cruel, violent nature, others reveal themselves slowly and become more and more evident. From an early stage we know he is decisive, arrogant, a natural leader and very insensitive. As we progress we see he is pragmatic, easily angered, exceptionally vio- lent and brave.
Jack is clearly decisive. When all the other boys give their first names to Piggy, Jack says, ‘I’m Merridew,’ this was the voice of someone who knew his own mind! He quickly decides ‘we need to decide about being rescued’ and is evidently confident in his decisions to the extent that he shows ‘an offhand superiority in his voice that intimidates Piggy.’ This mani- fests itself occasionally as arrogance when he says ‘I ought to be chief,’ ‘with simple arro- gance.’
From early on we can see that Jack is a natural leader. He is described as ‘inevitably leading the procession of choristers’ and at the election we are told ‘the most obvious leader was Jack.’ He is also often cruel and insensitive as can be seen when he says ‘He’s always throwing a faint’ when talking about the collapsed Simon. He calls Piggy a ‘fat slug’ and when Piggy asks for food we are told, by advertising his admission, he made more punish- ment necessary!
As we progress through the novel we see Jack exploit previously unknown characteristics. He is clearly pragmatic. We are told that when the choir broken lines he ‘made the best of a bad job.’ He even decides to apologise about letting the fire out and his ‘dirty trick’ to Piggy because he feels that saying sorry will benefit him...