Democracy To Dictatorship In Lord Of The Flies

1120 words - 4 pages

Democracy to Dictatorship in Lord of the Flies

 
     Lord of the Flies by William Golding is a novel that represents a microcosm of society in a tale about children stranded on an island. Of the group of young boys there are two who want to lead for the duration of their stay, Jack and Ralph.  Through the opposing characters of Jack and Ralph, Golding reveals the gradual process from democracy to dictatorship from Ralph's democratic election to his lack of law enforcement to Jack's strict rule and his violent law enforcement. 

 

Upon the arrival of the boys to the island Jack immediately found himself in the center of a power struggle. Although the conflict was brief, there was still a very obvious confrontation between Jack and Ralph. Once the boys had assembled themselves there was an election to see who was to be chief. Despite the fact that Ralph was voted leader, the desire to be in command never left Jack. Jack already had some leadership skills, being head choirboy at his old school, and he continuously challenged Ralph.  The greatest source of conflict between Jack and Ralph was the debate over the necessity of maintaining a fire. Ralph felt that it was necessary to keep it burning at all times while Jack believed that hunting pigs and getting meat was much more essential.

 

Ralph was elected shortly after their arrival to the island, but his time in power came to end quite gradually. He tried to run his group through a democratic type system in which all major decision were first discussed at an assembly before they were put into action. At these assemblies his views were questioned not only by Jack, but by the other boys as well. Even the ideas that the assembly could agree on usually weren't put into action due to the fact that Ralph would not enforce them. They had decided to build huts to live and sleep in, but after only a few hours most of the boys had gotten bored and left. Their punishment for slacking off was nothing, and so they got away with accomplishing nothing. Jack saw this along with many other flaws in Ralph's democracy and continually tried to force his style of governing over the boys.

 

Jack's view on how the group should be run didn't completely show through until he actually became the leader later on in the novel, but there were hints before that as well. His tendency towards strict leadership was evident ever since he and his choirboys were introduced as characters. He kept them very much in line. "The group of cloaked boys began to scatter from close line. The tall boy shouted at them. 'Choir stand still!' Wearily obedient, the choir huddled into line and stood there swaying in the sun" (Golding page #). He allowed them little room to maneuver, made them listen and follow orders without question.

 

Jack was a very power hungry young boy.  Although he doesn't have any power at the beginning of the novel, he took every opportunity to take the position of chief and was...

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