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Abc's Lost: Jack's Inner Conflict

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Does he have what "it" takes? In the episode, "The White Rabbit", Jack's father chastises Jack for attempting to defend a friend in adolescent combat, despite the fact that the perpetrators never directly targeted Jack. Jack's father, Christian, explains to Jack that he ought not try to be a hero, for if and when he fails, Jack does not "have what it takes" to wash his hands of the situation and start anew, ready to make more critical and challenging decisions. Christian's rather humbling and degrading speech makes Jack question his ability to lead. As an adult, Jack's self-doubt still poisons him and he resents the role of leadership thrust upon him by his fellow survivors. The directors of "Lost" reveal to the audience, through a conversation between Jack and his mother, that Christian fled the country because of something Jack did to him. The two did not speak for months; a period which culminated with Jack's discovering his father dead of an alcohol-induced heart attack in Sydney, Australia. The sour ending to Jack's already rocky relationship with his father weighs on him mentally; his grief and guilt lead him to crave isolation and, until he undergoes an epiphany, reject those who consider him a leader, for he is unsure whether he "has what it takes."

The survivors crave Jack's leadership and direction and look to him for all decisions that must be made on the island. However, in his head, Jack does not feel completely comfortable in his role as the leader. Granted, he served as a spinal surgeon at a prestigious hospital and meets all qualifications on paper, but responsibility for his father's death is something Jack will never feel absolved of. Though Jack knows that the actions he took that led to his father's banishment from the hospital were completely just and ethical, he cannot evade the grip of guilt and regret. As described by the philosopher John Locke, it is human nature to crave solitude and independence in times of great grief. And when Jack feels that his quest for lonesomeness is being impeded by those on the island who seek leadership, he lashes out at them and urges them to lead themselves. Jack takes exception to the role of a leader as he, like the rest of us, is human and is subject to the tribulations of human nature; in this case, the seeking of seclusion as a result of grief and trauma.

Amid chaos and conflict that engulfs the surviving party on the island; Jack endures a mentally and physically taxing conflict with himself. Jack's inner uncertainty of his actions, wrought upon him by his father, betrays the confidence and decisiveness he portrays to his "sheep." Jack does possess the natural ability to lead, but he is not yet convinced of this reality, and he thus tries to avoid situations where a crucial decision is required. For instance, after he failed to rescue the drowning girl, Jack was unable to immediately move on and start anew.



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