Greed for Power
In the novel Lord of the Flies, by William Golding, a group of English boys in their adolescence are stranded on an island. They crash-land while being evacuated because of an atomic war, so the boys must learn to cooperate with each other in order to survive. The boys are civil at first, but the bonds of civilization unfold as the rapacity for power and immediate desires become more important than civility and rescue. The conflict between Ralph, the protagonist, and Jack, the antagonist, represents the conflict between the impulse to civilization and the impulse to savagery, respectively. In Lord of the Flies, Golding uses Ralph and Jack’s struggle for power to show that greed and lust for power can corrupt the best leaders and, sadly, even the people who follow that leader.
From the very beginning of the novel, the reader discerns a very important difference between Ralph and Jack, their hair color. Ralph is described as “the boy with fair hair,” to bluntly show the reader that Ralph represents fairness and democracy. As the novel develops, the reader sees Ralph’s drive for civilization and democracy. “[I]f we have a signal going, they’ll come and take us off. And another thing, we ought to have more rules. Where the conch is, that’s a meeting. The same up here as down there,” Ralph exclaimed. On the other hand, Jack is described with red hair to portray to the reader that Jack represents immorality, danger, and an authoritarian type of government. “Better red than dead,” was an anti-authoritarian phrase in the 1950s when Golding wrote this book. It was a hate phrase used mostly against the Soviet Union during the Second World War. For one to think that red is just a color in Lord of the Flies is a major misunderstanding. Golding wrote every detail with a specific intention.
Ironically, when the boys are voting for chief, they notice that “the most obvious leader was Jack,” but yet the boys still voted Ralph chief. It was because Ralph...
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