Lord of the Flies7

Dominique Tappy 6F - 9th April 2000

Trace the development of the deterioration of the relationship between Ralph and Jack

Both characters whom I will be focusing on and contrasting in this essay come from the same book; it is the William Golding\'s Lord of the Flies.

The book was the first work of fiction of Golding\'s, written in 1954. It is an unusually and carefully constructed fable that was, in Golding\'s words, ‘an attempt to trace the defects of society back to the defects of human nature’The novel shows a group of English boys on a Pacific island, where civilisation reverts to savagery . The book deals with the conflict between humanity\'s inner barbarism on one side, and the civilising influence of reason on the other.

Each of the two characters I have chosen to contrast and compare is presented in the novel as the most influential representative of each of the two sides. Jack, the chief of the hunters, representing the hidden human passion and almost animal cruelty, and Ralph, with Piggy and a few other children, who represents human common sense.

When the reader enters the book, they find the whole group of the boys on a small island after they had been evacuated from their hometown and after their plane had crashed leaving them on the island with no grown-ups.

At the beginning of the book the position of Jack and Ralph is more or less equal. They are both well-conditioned boys of school age, who find themselves on a lonely island with some other boys of various age, but not older than themselves. They share similar opinions about their situation and its solution. They both want to be rescued and taken home. They both realise that there are a lot of things they must do to survive on the island until all of them get rescued. And lastly, they both are dominant types, but yet at the beginning of the novel they both acknowledge each other\'s authority and behave to each other in a friendly way.

At the return Ralph found himself alone on a limb with Jack and they grinned at each other, sharing this burden. Once more, admit the breeze, the shouting, the slanting sunlight on the high mountain, was shed that glamour, that strange invisible light of friendship, adventure, and content.
-" Almost too heavy."
Jack grinned back.
-" Not for the two of us."
Together, joined in effort by the burden, they staggered up the last step of the mountain.
Together, they chanted One!

The first, although hidden conflict between Ralph and Jack, the conflict between the two sides, arises when Ralph is elected or appointed as the chief, "the one who decides things". The reader feels that Jack\'s vanity has been hit by the loss.

Ralph counted.
-" I\'m the chief then."
The circle of boys broke into applause. Even the choir applauded; and the freckles on Jack\'s face disappeared under a mortification.

Even then the relationship and attitudes of the two boys remain almost the same. They both agree on the need of fire, on the need of shelters and on the need of meat. Nonetheless, one can feel that after Ralph had been elected for the chief, the Jack\'s side of "reason" and Ralph\'s common sense start separating from each other.

At first Jack and his hunters do what they are asked to, but as time goes on, they start to participate in different activities and neglect those needed for the sake of the boys\' salvation.

Ralph spoke.
-" You let the fire out."
Jack checked, vaguely irritated by this irrelevance but too happy to let it worry him.
-" We can light the fire again. You should have been with us, Ralph. We had a smashing time. The twins got knocked over..."
-" We hit the pig..."
-" ...I fell on the top..."
-" I cut his throat," said Jack, proudly...

In Golding\'s novel the fire, as many other things, has a symbolic function. For Ralph and his followers, the only way how to get rescued is to keep the fire burning. Therefore Ralph tries to enforce the superiority of the fire on other things. When the fire, the symbol of sense, goes out, it is because Jack and his hunters get carried away by their hunting passion, which more and more dulls