Character Sketch: Jack Merridew Essay

1943 words - 8 pages

Stories through history argue that evil tendencies are shown in early life. One character, Jack Merridew in Lord of the Flies by William Golding, is a perfect example. This young boy is the evolving antagonist who brings discord in his wake, and fundamentally undermines the representative society on the island. At the outset, he is seen as a plainly ugly redheaded child, only possessing his grandiose black cloak, but evolves into something more sinister. Jack’s actions are impulsive, but effective in moving his darker motives forward. He uses his following of other young boys as muscle, demonstrates his power, and corrupts the world of Lord of the Flies with his destructive behaviors. As well as demonstrating the characteristics of a harsh leader, Jack fits the description of evil under other descriptions. Jack is the character that moves the novel forward with his harsh words and conduct, as illustrated by his dominance, pride, and selfishness.
Dominance is a strong trait in Jack, showing this through his brash actions quickly. His character is introduced with a sense of authority. “The boy who controlled them [the choir] was dressed in the same way though his cap badge was golden.” Before one even knows Jack’s name, he is demonstrated to be the leader by wearing a color at a higher rank than the rest. Jack is the leader of his choir group of schoolboys, and frequently asserts his dominance by yelling at the young children to “stand still!” and follow his orders. Although he is merely a boy, he uses intimidation to achieve his power. At the outset, Jack boasts about how “I ought to be chief, because I'm chapter chorister and head boy. I can sing C sharp.” Jack thinks he should be at the head of the group, due to his singing voice, and simply because he has always had this kind of authority. His need for power is also a demonstration of his selfishness, as well as his dominance. Another example of his dominance is shown when Jack separates the two groups. “Listen all of you. Me and my hunters, we’re living along the beach by a flat rock. We hunt and feast and have fun. If you want to join my tribe come and see us. Perhaps I’ll let you join. Perhaps not,” he shouts. This back-and-forth is a form of manipulation. This desire to create another group and feast, away from the ones that attempt to oppress him, helps to show his neediness and power. Jack has the upper hand in this situation, on the grounds that he holds the idea of “fun” above the other boy’s heads in an attempt to create a more powerful image of himself. This kind of sinister manipulation is shown commonly in abusive relationships. He uses this form of manipulation in other ways: “You're no good on a job like this,” he tells Piggy. “We don’t want you.” He uses this degradation to get what he wants, not to be put down himself, and to be seen as the most powerful person in the group. Piggy is insecure about his abilities and Jack knows this. He uses this insecurity to assert his power,...

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