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
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