An Interview with William Golding about the characterisation of Jack during the Huts on the Beach chapter.
Interviewer:Mr. Golding, let’s continue the interview by talking about the part where Jack hits Piggy right on the stomach at the mountain top?
Golding: I remember that was a particularly painful episode to write about!
Interviewer: Let me ask, why did Jack hit Piggy and not Ralph? After all, it was Piggy who had provoked him? Did he still respect Ralph? Did he pity him?
Well you see, Jack couldn’t hit Ralph even if he wanted to. Ralph was still the chosen leader. You remember the voting, don’t you?
Interviewer: I do, yes.
Golding: Well, Jack had no respect for Ralph. He knew he would lose some respect from the other boys who were starting to look up to Jack. Jack needed their trust – their commitment to him. He’s waiting for the right time to defeat Ralph. He wasn’t scared of Piggy at all –he thought Piggy was weak. It was also his way of expressing his inner or original self – an animal – not his over civilised self. Jack attacked Piggy, and everyone supported him. It was a way to get approval.
Interviewer: And was Piggy also a symbol of the pig he killed?
Golding: You could say that. Jack had just killed a pig. He was ready to kill again.
Interviewer:So you’re saying that Jack couldn’t hit Ralph because of his strategy to get the other boy’s trust? Aaah – this makes sense because Ralph is still the leader, with the conch. Okay okay ..Let me respond to the point you just made. So Jack made the pig as a practice to actually murder Piggy? So it was in his mind all along .. I see now .
Interviewer: A bit later, after Jack has killed the pig, why was he so desperate to make everyone eat the pig? And why is it that Jack didn’t leave any for Piggy?
Golding: OK. That’s two questions. Firstly, Jack is a sort of boy that .. He needs support . The kind of person doesn’t have power when he stands alone. Unlike Ralph, who can stand for what he believes even if he has to fight alone, until the very end – when they get rescued. Jack is trying to figure out as many strategies as possible to have everyone leave Ralph and follow him instead! The thing is, he can’t stand alone. He can’t win when he’s alone, and he’s not so powerful anymore when there’s no one to support him! By killing the pig and feeding the others, Jack gained trust and dependence from the boys. This is why he’s so desperate for everyone, including Ralph, who is still the leader and secretly Jack’s enemy, to eat the pig. Jack didn’t share any with Piggy because it is obvious that he doesn’t like Piggy. He hated Piggy! Piggy was too weak for him – he thinks – and therfore no use as a follower. And Piggy was also the symbol of the pig that they’re eating. And of course later on Piggy was murdered.
Interviewer:Jack can’t stand alone? .. So what are you exactly saying about Jack? That he’s a ….. ?
Golding:Jack enjoyed the kill. I want to come as close as I can to saying that it was his nature to kill. To dominate. To kill a pig, first. But he only has power when there’s people around him to support. He acts as a leader, not out of the good of the community but out of a desire to have his will done.
Interviewer:That is very interesting .. I was also wondering, about
this part Mr.Golding: Why didn’t Ralph defend Piggy straight after Jack punched him? Piggy was Ralph’s friend wasn’t he? But why didn’t he say anything?
Golding:Actually, Ralph wanted to say something to Jack. Yes, Piggy was
Ralph’s friend – in fact, Piggy was always there for Ralph until his death! But Ralph couldn’t stand up to Jack at that time. He just discovered something new about Jack. He discovered that Jack was now capable of doing anything he wanted. Even killing.
Think about it.. They were all alone in the island, no adults, and no rules! After Ralph saw what Jack could do to Piggy, he knew that Jack could be more daring to do anything! At that time Ralph was scared. Imagine, Jack holding a spear still dipping fresh blood, with a dagger on his belt. Ralph didn’t dare to say a thing.
Interviewer:So Ralph was scared? You’re saying that Jack intimidated Ralph ..
I see ..Mr. Golding, I was also confused about this part: Why did Jack let the fire out?
Golding:Ah ..So I think at that time jack have just lost agaisnt Ralph in being leader. Am I right? He and his choir group was assigned to be hunters. Ralph left him in charge of keeping the fire going. Do you think Jack would care to do something that is not important to him, for Ralph – a guy that had just beat him to be leader? – No he wouldn’t. He decided to discover the island. He was listening to his desires not someone elses instructions. He wanted to discover his inner-self to be free with no one telling him what to do. Jack was a real animal, you see. This is something he wanted to do for a long time, — to be free. He failed to kill the pig last time, he would try again and again for his pride. He wanted to hunt, he couldn’t care less about the fire. Also, something about Jack is that he’s irresponsible. He can’t stay put with rules, he wants people to follow his rules – his rules. Not him following other people’s rules. He’s selfish, you see.
Interviewer:So Jack, having his pride so high wouldn’t want anyone to tell him what to do? Is this what you mean? I see..
Mr.Golding, do you think that Jack regrets saying sorry to Ralph about the fire? It’s ironic isn’t it, because in the end Jack tried to kill Ralph?