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Evolution Of Jack's Character Depicted In Golding's Novel, The Lord Of The Flies

983 words - 4 pages

William Golding’s novel ‘The Lord of The Flies’ tells the story of a group of English boys isolated on a desert island, left to attempt to retain civilisation. In the novel, Golding shows one of the boys, Jack, to change significantly. At the beginning of the book, Jack’s character desires power and although he does not immediately get it, he retains the values of civilized behaviour. However, as the story proceeds, his character becomes more savage, leaving behind the values of society. Jack uses fear of the beast to control the other boys and he changes to become the book’s representation of savagery, violence and domination. He is first taken over with an obsession to hunt, which leads to a change in his physical appearance This change of character is significant as he leads the other boys into savagery, representing Golding’s views of there being a bad and unforgiving nature to every human.

In the novel, “The Lord of the Flies”, the reader can see the change in Jack’s character as his obsession to hunt grows. As the leader, Ralph gives Jack and his choirboys the responsibility to hunt for food for the rest of the group. We see that in Jack’s first attempt to hunt, civilisation is holding him back so he does not hold the ability to slaughter the pig. This is shown where it says, “They knew very well why he hadn’t: because of the enormity of the knife descending and cutting into living flesh, because of the unbearable blood.”. However, we see that his nature changes and soon his preoccupation with hunting increases dramatically. At the beginning of Chapter three, Golding portrays Jack to have animal-like traits such as “flared nostrils” and describes him as “dog-like” and “ape-like”. It can therefore be interpreted that Jack’s obsession with hunting causes his character to strongly regress from society. Jack says, “We want meat.”, and then goes on to say, “I went on. I thought, by myself…I thought I might kill.”. The reader can see from this that Jack’s vocabulary is composed of only monosyllabic words as he is preoccupied only with thoughts of slaughtering. We can also interpret that Jack feels as if he has to kill in order to gain respect for himself. Jack shows this pride when he does eventually kill a pig and he retells the story of the hunt to the rest of the boys. He and some of the boys re-enact the murder in a savage and primitive style. Therefore, we can see how his behaviour has been affected as a result of his compassion and need to hunt. This change in his behaviour is very significant as hunting is how Jack begins to establish his power over the group. Soon after the killing of the first pig, Jack is able to become more powerful and Ralph begins to realise this so he says, “I’m calling an assembly.”, as he feels in danger of losing control.
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