The Struggle for Power and Domination in William Goldings Lord of the Flies

2021-05-19 09:20:12
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The deserted island with no other people around has become a perfect setting for an internal conflict for power in the small group of boys marooned to the island after a plane crash. The differences between the protagonist, Ralph, a fair-haired, sensible and attractive boy of 12 and his antagonist, Jack, a red-headed villain and a blood-thirsty mischief-maker, start to be noticed at the very beginning of the novel when boys are still trying to determine the grounds for which they are in this unknown place. While Ralph is trying to establish more rules: We ought to have more rules (Golding 58) to ensure order and finally get everybody saved by keeping a signaling fire alive at all times, Jack is mostly preoccupied with the ideas of creating an army for hunting and taking the leadership upon himself. While Ralph understands that being on the island is a temporary situation where the boys have to try their best to survive, Jack perceives everything as an extraordinary adventure somewhere in the parallel universe where the old norms and rules somehow do not apply and anything is possible. Being rescued is not something Jack is striving for: The best thing we can do is get ourselves rescued. Jack had to think for a moment before he could remember what rescue was. Rescue? Yes, of course! All the same, Id like to catch a pig first He snatched up his spear and dashed it into the ground. The opaque, mad look came into his eyes again (Golding 73-74). All Jack can think of is hunting for pigs to guarantee him fun and some meat to eat. He feels perfectly natural and comfortable on the island; this place promises him boundless opportunities and prospects and this makes his main difference from Ralph. Jack definitely (though a little latently) wants to stay on the island in order to create his own primitive kingdom and be a kind of tribal chief while Ralph is on the opposite end he wants to bring himself and the boys back to the civilization with its at least relative stability and common sense.

One of the most important passages in the novel where Jacks actions obstruct Ralphs intentions is the one where Jack convinces the boys to go hunting for the pig and leave the fire unattended. As a result, the fire is out and a ship goes past the island without noticing the boys. The scene where the boys headed by Jack come back from hunting after the ship leaves changes the overall tone and meaning of the novel. Firstly, the boys who let the fire go out are walking almost completely naked thus subconsciously demonstrating their rejection of civilization and its rules. Secondly, the procession, headed by Jack, is chanting Kill the pig. Cut her throat. Spill her blood (Golding 96) and this does not sound as just innocent hunting for food. The boys are obviously being transformed into wild savages without being aware of it. They are so ecstatic about killing the pig and all they can think of is how it squealed before they cut its throat.

Another key scene where Jack directly stands up to Ralph is the one where he hurls his spear at Ralph viciously, with full intention (Golding 261). At this point of the novel the devil of savageness fully possessed Jack and his minions. The reader can only guess what could have happened to the wild and disoriented group of boys with an insane chief smeared with blood unless a British navy officer came to rescue the children.

Goldings novel vividly demonstrates how the humaneness of the civilization depends on power and law. Without a powerful force able to control them, a group of humans can be transformed into blood-thirsty savages in almost no time.

Works Cited

Golding, William. Lord of the Flies. N.p.,1954. Web. 7Sept.2016.

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