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Lord of the Flies: Jack Has Lost His Sense of Humanity

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In the novel “Lord of The Flies” written by the critically-acclaimed author William Golding, a young, unpleasantly-mannered boy named Jack plays a major role in the storyline as somewhat of a rival to the protagonist that gradually becomes an antagonistic threat. One could conclude that Jack gradually loses his sense of humanity.

        A somewhat prominent example of this is in the form of how he betrays his leader: Ralph. Ralph is the protagonist of this novel, who acts as a leader for a majority of the story. In many ways, he is the polar opposite of Jack. A prime example of Jack’s betrayal is presented when he lets the fire burn out. “Ralph brought his arm down, fist clenched, and his voice shook ‘There was a ship […] you said you’d keep the fire going but you let it out’.” (Pg. #74) is an excerpt of a dilemma that came to fruition once Ralph noticed Jack’s first betrayal. The distastefully-mannered boy’s blatant ignorance towards the order given to him by his leader acts as a prelude for the events to come, as well as an event to set his future actions into perspective, severity-wise. You can notice an increase in Jack’s general disrespect towards everyone and everything once the situation, as well as most people, turn against him. His aggression leads him to physically assault one of the members of Ralph’s crew, with the intention of harming him. Golding made sure to even state, prior to striking Piggy (his crew-mate) “This from Piggy, and the wails of agreement from some of the hunters drove Jack to violence. The bolting look came into his blue eyes.” (Pg. #75). The sheer madness hidden inside of Jack, while it hadn’t been fully exerted, certainly made its entrance at that particular moment. However, Jack did anything but cease while he had the opportunity to suppress his demonic side. His disrespect towards Ralph grew exponentially, to the point where he believes that following Ralph’s directions will come to no avail. “‘I’ll blow the conch’ said Ralph breathlessly ‘and we’ll call an assembly’ ‘we shan’t hear it’ [says Jack in response]” (Pg. #167). Unfortunately for the rest of the cast, Jack’s numerous offenses do not remain as simple, displeasing acts that can be forgotten in a few weeks. They evolve to become vile acts that are capable of traumatizing anyone for the rest of their lives.

It is impossible, as an individual reading this book, to deny that Jack has committed a detestable crime. The simply despicable and vile crime committed by Jack in the later stages of the novel cannot be forgiven, no matter which perspective it is viewed in. If this crime would be committed in Canada, the one held responsible for it would be sentenced life imprisonment.* The reprehensible crime in question is murder. Jack has been a major factor in the murders of 2 of the children on the island; Simon, as well as Piggy. While Jack wasn’t the one who landed the killing blow for either of the 2 individuals, in Simon’s case, he was the one who commanded his lot of rebellious children to attack a fictitious creature known as “The Beast” whenever they saw him. “‘I gave you food,’ said Jack ‘and my hunters will defend you from the beast.’” (Pg. # 166) Given the conditions surrounding how Simon appeared to Jack’s savages, they all believed that Simon was in fact, the Beast. Simply based on the false information given to them by Jack, the savages instinctively attacked what they saw, without any second thought. In Piggy’s case, an upheaval broke out between him, Ralph, Jack and Roger (who is an individual who is considered to be much more of a savage than Jack), Piggy, being immensely frustrated by Jack’s reckless actions, was criticizing his actions, and was attempting to make him understand that his bloodthirsty ways will only bring them closer to death. Unable to resort to reason and understand Piggy’s criticism, Jack becomes furious with Piggy, acting as the drop that makes everything overflow. Jack’s pre-existing anger caused by Ralph, combined with all the rage that Piggy built up inside of him, made the lunacy that was hidden within him beforehand, erupt. Somehow, that hidden insanity resonated with Roger, causing him to put an end to what he believed to be a pointless source of distraction, as well as the main source of conflict: the conch shell. Jack’s reaction to Piggy’s death only proves that the innocence of a man had a place in his heart no longer. “Suddenly Jack bounded out from the tribe and began screaming wildly. ‘See? See? That’s what you’ll get! I mean that!’ [….] Viciously, with full intention, he hurled his spear at Ralph.” (Pg. #201). The event in question had traumatized Ralph, though in the heat of the moment, he felt too many emotions at once to properly react. Once the crew had been found on the island, only then did Ralph reflect on the severity of the events that had transpired. “Ralph wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of a man’s heart, and the fall through the air of a true, wise friend called Piggy.” (Pg. #225). Golding’s final statement really makes the reader ponder for themselves and ask themselves what would’ve happened if a child in this modern era, went through the same things that Ralph did. Upon further thinking, one vital fact about Jack is revealed.

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