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Lord Of The Flies Paper: Mercy or Will

Updated on April 21, 2012

character who changed throughout the book, Lord of the Flies, was Jack. Jack was leader of the choir boys and from the very beginning had an aura of a strong, powerful leader. Naturally, he figured he would be chosen as chief when the time came for the boys to vote. But when the vote was counted, Ralph, the pale haired boy who seemed to be a fair and righteous leader, won. “Even the choir applauded; and the freckles on Jacks face disappeared under a blush of mortification. He started up, then changed his mind and sat down again while the air rang” (23). Next, Ralph gave Jack the job of being head of the choir boys. Immediately, Jack offered his group as being the hunters which shows he was willing to kill.

As the book continued, Jack had his first opportunity at killing an animal in the forest. But when the time came to spear it, Jack couldn’t do it and eventually it ran away. “He raised his arm in the air. There came a pause, a hiatus, the pig continued to scream and the creepers to jerk, and the blade continued to flash at the end of a bony arm. The pause was only long enough for them to understand what an enormity the downward stroke would be. Then the piglet tore loose from the creepers and scurried into the undergrowth. They were left looking at each other and the place of terror” (31). Jack tells himself that next time, there will be no mercy. He will kill the pig instantly without thinking. But the fact that he hesitated in the beginning of the book showed that he had a lot of human decency before he arrived at the island. And when he came to the island, a lot of things changed about Jack, including his morals on how much a life is worth.

As time goes on, Jack becomes less consumed with getting off of the island like Ralph is. Ralph spends a lot of his time and energy focusing on keeping the fire going so that if a boat or plane happens to go by, they can be rescued. But when Jack is responsible for keeping the fire going, it goes out. All Jack seems to care about is when he can kill next, when he can get that next high for plunging a knife into flesh. He gets his first opportunity, “Behind Jack walked the twins, carrying a great stake on their shoulders. The gutted carcass of a pig swung from the stake, swinging heavily as the twins toiled over the uneven ground. The pigs head hung down with gaping neck and seemed to search for something on the ground. At last the words of the chant floated up to them, across the bowl of blackened wood and ashes. Kill the pig, cut her throat, spill her blood” (68). Jack seems to be becoming more and more inhuman, forgetting that back at home where they were raised, they would never speak such vile words. Ralph seems to be noticing that Jack is acting strange, and usually reminds himself of how all the boys used to look. Ralph thinks about how he would really like a toothbrush, or a comb. Jack on the other hand, is bloody thirsty for his next kill. He has the rest of the choir boys revved up and ready to go on each hunt. Jack really shows off how tough he’s becoming when the littlun’s start to become worried about a “beast” that some claim to have seen. “Jack paused, cradling the conch, and turned to his hunters with their dirty black caps. “Am I a hunter or am I not?” They nodded, simply. He was a hunter all right. No one doubted that. “Well then- I’ve been all over this island. By myself. If there were a beasty I’d have seen it. Be frightened because you’re like that-but there is no beast in the forest”.” (83). Later on, during a meeting that Ralph calls with the conch, things get out of hand and there is an argument between Ralph, Piggy and Jack. Ralph and Piggy are both trying to preserve the only trace of humanity they have left, which are the rules they made up. But Jack is being very difficult and refuses to follow them, and tells the rest of his “tribe” not to follow them as well. Jack says, “Bollocks to the rules! We’re strong- we hunt! If there’s a beast, we’ll hunt it down! We’ll close in and beat and beat and beat-!” He gave a wild whoop and leapt down to the pale sand. At once the platform was full of noise and excitement, scrambling, screams, and laughter” (91).


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