William Golding in his novel “Lord of the Flies” illustrates different ideas in different characters. In his work, the writer explores delicate issues of the time and expresses high disgust in the ability of people to become very evil in extreme situations. He abhors the fact that all humans have inborn evil and that it is only circumstances that keep this evil side from showing itself. Jack, one of the main characters of the “Lord of the Flies”, is an example of how a civilized human being can become a savage if put in a world without any civilization. Jack is also a marvelous example of how leadership can be gained through unconventional means in an uncivilized world.
Jack was the leader of the boys from the very beginning of the story. Because he was a choir leader back at home, it was natural that he would become a leader on the island. The kids from his choir were already accustomed to the fact that he was in control. Jack also felt very comfortable being in charge and giving orders as if it was an innate characteristic. His demand for attention and obedience was satisfied from the very beginning of the story.
Jack also used his ability to hunt as tool to gain power. He knew that the most important thing for children on the isolated island was food. Since he was the only boy who had a knife, he became the leader of the hunters. The children felt the need for food and Jack provided it. The boy even gave priority to hunting above that of keeping the communal fire burning, although he realized the importance of keeping the fire all of time for survival on the island. He wanted to go home just like everyone else, but he was more focused on today than on tomorrow. He believed that the immediate needs of the children, such as eating, had to be met first. This proved to be a wise choice, and later proved to be pivotal in helping Jack gain the ultimate power on the island. Ralph, the other of the group’s leaders, believed that keeping the fire burning should be the highest priority, but his decision did not prove to be a popular one. Maybe it would have been a more successful choice if it had been combined with Jack’s priority to hunt. As for the young children who found themselves stranded on an isolated island, nothing was more important to them than food. That is why Jack became the more powerful leader because he could satisfy the needs of the kids who found themselves in need of somebody to depend on, and that somebody proved to be Jack.
Another reason why jack became the leader was that he could provide security for the children. It was very frightening for the children to stay alone on the big unexplored island, especially at night. Boys of this age are sometimes afraid of the dark even when they are at home, and when they were on the island their fear was even worse. From the darkness came an imaginary beast and the boys felt an urgent need for comfort and protection. Because Jack had a knife and knew how to kill, he could guard the children. He always said that he was not afraid of the beast and if the beast came he would kill it. This was very opposite from what Ralph said about the beast. Ralph tried to convince the children that the beast did not exist in the first place. In this battle of opinions the children trusted Jack because they believed in physical strength. The children were also a bit afraid of Jack because he was a very strong person. This reinforced Jack’s position as the leader because he had obedient boys and so he could exercise his power as much as he wanted. Therefore, Jack could provide children with security as they all listened to him and play the role of an adult.
One more reason why Jack gained leadership and Ralph lost his power was Jack’s ability to convince others of his point of view during an argument. Jack definitely knew how to gain the sympathies of the boys whenever he and Ralph disagreed. Jack always stressed hunting as his major achievement. The children naturally took his side because they saw the personal benefits from this hunting and the relative uselessness of the fire. Every boy wanted to get out of the island and to go home but they also wanted to eat. And so because they got the food and they did not get home, they saw that hunting was more useful than keeping the fire burning. Another of Jack’s tactics in winning the arguments he had with Ralph was to proclaim ultimatums, which made the boys choose either him or Ralph. One of his ultimatums even divided the boys into two groups. In one group were the boys who trusted Ralph and in another those who liked jack more. Accordingly, by doing so he proved to be a very strong and self-confident leader.
Another of Jack’s favorable characteristics was that he provided the children with opportunities to enjoy their time on the island. He turned hunting into somewhat of a game and made it a fun activity. Thanks to this the children were not bored and did not think about their difficult situation. They even started to like hunting. Killing became an attractive game instead of a horrible act to them. This led Jack to transform the overall lifestyle on the island into a big game. He arranged the boys to live in tribes where everyone had duties and tasks to fulfill. Everyone had a role to play in everyday activities and it resulted in each boy’s feelings as important and useful. Ralph did not meet this need of the boys. Instead, Ralph divided tasks only to some boys and left others with no activity. This became a major strength of Jack’s leadership.
Jack was not a leader with good and valuable goals, nor did he possess high morals or ethical values. The children had other criterion that they followed in choosing their leader on the island. What made Jack the leader was his ability to understand and fulfill the immediate needs of the boys on the island. With this the author illustrates the absence of morality not only among the boys on the island, but also in every human being who follows a strong and immoral leader. The story also proves that Darwin’s theory was right at least in some situations. The strongest win when morality is left behind.