Lord Of The Flies - Character Analysis Of Jack Merridew Essay

Lord Of The Flies Character Analysis Of Jack Merridew Essay

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In the novel Lord of the Flies, Jack is the character that goes through the most change of anyone throughout the story. He begins the novel as a somewhat arrogant choir boy, who we actually see cry when he is not elected leader of the island. Golding describes Jack's physical appearance as so, "Inside the floating cloak he was tall, thin and bony ;his hair was red beneath the black cap. His face was crumpled and freckled and ugly without silliness" (p.20) Jack's original feelings were to keep an organized group on the island. The author has him agreeing with Ralph when he brings the group together. Jack says, "I agree with Ralph. We've got to have rules and obey them. After all, we're not savages. We're English, and the English are the best at everything. So we've got to do the right things." (p.42) Although we are shown a pretty normal boy, we start to see that Jack can be very hostile at the same time. While Piggy is talking, we see Jack exclaim, "You're talking to much. Shut up fatty." (p.21) Jack is made the leader of the hunting tribe. He and his hunters have much trouble trying to hunt and kill a pig. Coming from a place like England, he has not had any experience in anything like this before. He is struggling to be a hunter, because right now he still has not made his decent into primitive savagery , which is the way he ends up at the end of the story. But Jack is shown to have primitive urges early. The author says, "He [Jack] tried to convey the compulsion to track down and kill that was swallowing him up." (p.51) So we see how Jack does have a certain urge to hunt and kill as one of his primitive desires. After a few tries, Jack and the hunters finally catch a pig. The boys and Jack brutally attack it and kill it. This is the first step of Jack's transaction into savage living. We see the loss of innocense because Jack has killed his first living creature, and also had a loss of innocence in a sexual standpoint. Now we see Jack become very confident in his hunting ability and we start to see him act more like a hunter. He now wears a mask over his face and always wants to hunt. The author has this to say about Jack and his mask, "...the mask was a thing on its own, behind which Jack hid, liberated from shame and self-consciousness." (p.62) Jack is now trying to transform himself into a different person. He seems to be happier as a hunter. The author also lets us into Jack's mind, for his thoughts on his first kill, "His mind was crowded with memories ;memories of the knowledge that had come to them when they closed in on the struggling pig, knowledge that they had outwitted a living thing, imposed their will upon it, taken away its life like a long satisfying drink." (p.70) Jack's next step into savagery is when they are all dancing around the fire in celebration. Simon is coming to tell the boys about his vision of the beaste, when Jack and his tribe mistake Simon for the beaste and attack and kill him. He has now killed his first human being, although it seemed not to be completely intensional. Jack is starting to get his followers to think about nothing but hunting now. The boys and Jack continue to hunt animals, but now a new order is taking place. All the boys take a vote to decide who will remain leader, and when Jack is not elected, he says, "I'm not going to play any longer. Not with you." (p.127) Jack is seeing all this trouble they are going through as a game. This shows his immaturity and how he is not respecting anyone or anything now. Jack goes off on his own with many of the older boys and forms his own shelter at the rock. Ralph and Piggy have now lost control over almost everyone. Jack is ruling by complete force. We see him tie and beat up one of the boys, just to set an example. He gets all the boys except Piggy and Ralph to join his group. They are all dressed like savages and Jack now has all his primitive urges coming out. He has no care for anyone and has no feeling for killing like he did earlier when he thought about killing the pig. The final step in Jack's decent into savagery is when he steals Piggy's glasses. Piggy goes to get them back and Jack orders the bolder to be let go, which kills Piggy. This is a killing of a human being which he did on complete purpose. He has the other children torch the island to try and kill Ralph, and he comes charging after him with the intent to murder him. He would have ended killing Ralph if the Navy officers had not come to the island. It would be interesting to see how Jack was after they were rescued from the island.

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