conflict between the character Jack and Ralph in Goldings " Lord of the Flies"

Topics: English-language films, Choir, Instinct Pages: 5 (696 words) Published: March 29, 1996
Throughout William Goldings novel Lord of The Flies there is an ever present

conflict between two characters. Ralph's character combines common sense with a strong

desire for civilized life. Jack, however, is an antagonist with savage instincts which he

cannot control. Ralph's goals to achieve a team unit with organization are destroyed by

Jack's actions and words that are openly displayed to the boys. The two leaders try to

convince the boys that their way of survival is correct. They continue this desire for

control while turning down each other's decisions and ideas. The back and forth conflicts

of opinion are what makes life chaos on the island. The boys are drawn away from a

civilized way of living.

Comments made by Ralph and Jack show the boys that Jack is resorting to

savagery. Ralph and Jack both agree in the beginning while they are reasoning in a civil

manner. Throughout the novel the two leaders stray from one another because of

differences in motivation. Jack told the boys "We've got to decide about being rescued"

(Golding, 20). This statement illustrates Jack's civilized concern for the whole group.

Jack seems to put the group before himself. This unselfish concern soon dissolves as the

internal beast prevails over the civil Jack. "I ought to be chief because I'm chapter

chorister and I can sing C sharp," (Golding, 21) displays Jacks own arrogance. After the

boys accept Ralph as chief, Ralph gives power over the choir boys to Jack. "The choir

belongs to you, of course," (Golding, 21) Ralph's unselfish act of giving Jack rule over

the choir boys is a way of keeping peace between the two groups and between Jack.

Ralph and Jack go exploring and return with the conclusion that the island can

support all of the boys. Ralph insists on building a signal fire. Ralph gains the support of

the boys. The boys immediately run to the top of the mountain to gather firewood. Jack

later belittles the fire and feels that hunting for meat is more important. Jack is only

thinking of their present problems. Ralph is looking for solutions to long-term threats.

Ralph knows "we need hunters to get us meat, "(Golding, 31). This responsibility is

quickly accepted by Jack and the choir. Ralph informs the boys in a meeting that "there

aren't any grownups," and they "have to look after themselves" (Golding, 31). Ralph

displays a concern for the group to work as one. Without a group unit working together,

the boys will fall apart. In some aspects Jack does mean well for the group. He does,

however, show signs of his savagery. "We'll have rules! Lots of rules!" (Golding, 31).

Jack shows that he understands the necessity for order. Jack then adds, in his savage way

of thinking, "then when anyone breaks 'em..." (Golding, 31). Jack is aware of the need

for organization in the group but, then threatens the boys. Jack's motivations and

intentions are all wrong. Jack starts to lose his civilized attitude as the inner bestial

instinct, which he cannot suppress, begins to prevail.

Again Ralph's quest for an organized, stable group is displayed in his statement

"we can't have everybody talking at once" (Golding, 31). Ralph has identified a major

problem. Through Ralph's strong leadership skills and past experiences, he suggests

"having 'Hands up' like at school" (Golding, 31). Ralph logically puts a group such as a

school class, which has some organization, into the current situation. The boys also use

the conch but, it starts to be disliked by Jack. The power given to Ralph when he

possesses the conch is overwhelming to Jack. Jack strives for power in other ways. Jack

feels he gains power and control by taking power and order from Ralph. Ralph doesn't

intentionally put anyone down. Jack builds himself up by tearing others down.

Ralph's goal for a team unit is never actually fulfilled. Could Ralph have led the

boys...
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