Compare Ralph and Jack’s actions and feelings in this extract.
This extract is taken from the part when Ralph and Jack are leading the investigation to find out what is on top of the mountain and it follows the unsuccessful hunt when Ralph nearly stabbed a pig. The boys re-enact the hunt with Robert as the pig. At first Ralph sees this as a game as he “entered into the play” whereas the other boys, led by Jack, soon become carried away inflicting “real pain” on Robert. Golding calls the event a “frenzy” showing its lack of controlled emotion and it becomes more and more sinister as “a butt end of a spear fell on [Robert’s] back” and the boys seem to be intentionally hurting him: “Ralph…grabbed at Eric’s spear and jabbed at Robert with it” and “Jack had him by the hair..”. Both Ralph and Jack here are actively hurting Robert.
Golding’s inclusion of Ralph in this mock-ritual at first seems to suggest that he has the same in-built instinct to hurt as the other boys as he is “carried away by a sudden thick excitement” and is inspired by the ‘mob-mentality’ to take part fully. Golding describes how Ralph was, uncharacteristically, “fighting to get near” and take part in hurting Robert and, ominously, how “the desire to squeeze and hurt was over-mastering.” The term ‘over-mastering’ does suggest though that there was an external influence working on Ralph and that his actions were not necessarily instinctive. This is borne out when, after it was over Ralph reinforces that it was “Just a game”. He says this “Uneasily” suggesting that he felt very uncomfortable about his vindictive desires.
Jack’s involvement in this incident, whilst on the face of it seemingly similar to Ralph’s could be seen as being more dangerous and therefore more ominous as Golding seems to suggest that, to him, the division between a game and real suffering is blurred and that he has little value for life of any sort, human or animal. This is suggested by the brutality of the...
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