Ralph and Jack, the Two Vastly Different Leaders in “Lord of the Flies”

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Ralph and Jack, the two vastly different leaders in “Lord of the Flies”

In “Lord of the Flies”, Golding has made it quite clear from the beginning of the novel that while both Ralph and Jack have leadership abilities their styles and approaches to leading are so different. This will be proven by the way in which Golding describes their characters, how they react and respond to situations and handle their responsibilities.

Golding in the opening chapter describes Ralph as the tall and handsome one. His charismatic appearance and nature makes him a suitably elected choice as the first leader. Ralph blows the conch to assemble the boys. This is symbolic of his democratic leadership style which seeks to protect the rights of the weak and the voiceless. "But there was stillness about Ralph that marked him out: there was his size and attractive appearance; and most obscurely, yet most powerfully, there was the conch" (Chapter 1, page 30). Jack is described in our first encounter as tough and dominant. He takes control of the choir aggressively when he commands them to “Stand still!” (Chapter 1, page 27). He is authoritative in his dealings with everyone. He instils fear and uses it to control the boys. This is evident when he “snatched his knife out of the sheath and slammed it into a tree.” (Chapter 1, page 41). The verbs “snatched” and “slammed” highlights Jack’s brutal and violent nature. He sees no value in assemblies and voting. Thus Golding contrasts the conch which symbolises democracy used by Ralph and the knife used by Jack which symbolises dictatorship.

Ralph’s kind and caring nature allows him to be a compassionate and empathetic leader. When Jack is not elected as chief he is still given a position of authority and command by Ralph, “The choir belongs to you, of course” (Chapter 1, page 31). He spares Ralph’s feelings because he knows that he really wanted that position. He is very reasonable, rational, inquisitive and organised, “Three...
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