In the story Lord of the Flies Ralph, the democratic character, and Jack,the dictator are the most important main characters. Ralph is the voice of hopeon the island, and without that, the boys would have turned to savagery muchfaster, and under the control of Jack. William Golding uses Ralph and hischaracter foil, Jack, to show how civilization works and how it doesn’t. Jack,the chief of the hunters, represents the hidden human passion and almost animalcruelty, and Ralph, who represents human common sense to show how civlization is. This story is an allegory. This means the character, events and settingrepresent deeper truths or generalizations then those suggested by the surfacestory.
There are four main characters, and each character represents differenttypes of people in the world. Jack is the dictator who uses force to show histhoughts and feelings. Therefore he is the destructive side of man. He is thetype of person who would rather have fun and gratification over work.
On theother hand Ralph is the believer in democracy and fairness. He is the voice ofhope, and the responsible type of person. The boys on the island, allegoricallyshow what the human civilization is like. Ralph stands for order and conduct of society.
Each chapter begins withorder, which means that Ralph has control. Ralph uses the conch to show orderand the right to speak. By the end of each chapter there is no order and thereis usually chaos, this shows that evil and/or fear has control, meaning Jack hascontrol. Allegorically in the world it would be a legislative government versusa military type of government. Where Ralph is the legislative and Jack ismilitary.
The disorder caused by Jack, threatens the island and the societythat Ralph has tried so hard to form. Ralph wants to have a fire, so they canbe rescued, but Jack is more worried about having fun then being rescued andthis is a major conflict. The fire is a symbol for hope and enlightenment, butwhen it gets out of control it becomes very destructive. Anything without orderand control can become destructive, this is why Ralph is so important to thesociety. The two character foils, Ralph and Jack, have different ideas and wantdifferent things.
Ralph wants huts and a signal fire. The huts which stand forcivilization and the signal fire is needed to get rescued. This shows thatRalph creates and builds. On the opposite end of that is Jack. Jack wants tohunt and kill pigs and have fun.
This shows primitivism. Jack is shown as aperson who kills and destroys. Here is the conflict; creating and buildingversus killing and destroying. Ralph asks Jack what he wants: ” Don’t you wantto be rescued? All you talk about is pig, pig, pig!” And Jack answers him andtells him what he wants: “But we want meat!” This tells us that Ralph and Jackwill not settle their differences. Right from the start unity of society isthreatened by the different purposes of the boys. Ralph was never comfortable with primitivism, but Jack rather enjoyed it.
Ralph thinks to himself: “He would like to have a bath, a proper wallow withsoap. . . and decided that a toothbrush would come in handy too. ” Ralph resistsprimitivism strongly but is still sucked into it. Even though he resistsprimitivism, he still went on a pig hunt and when he gets a stab at the pig, hebecomes very proud of himself, and ends up enjoying the hunt very much.
Thisshows that every human has an evil side. Even Ralph, who is the one whoabsolutely hates primitivism. The dead pilot in the tree suggests that humanshave de-evolved, gone backwards in evolution. Ralph cries: “If only they couldsend a message to us.
. . a sign or something. ” The dead pilot was the sign thatthe real world isn’t doing any better then they were doing on the island.
Jack objects to doing things that Ralph tells the whole group of theboys to do, as well he objects to Ralph’s being chief. Ralph still believes inthe conch, and thinks it still holds some order: “Jack! Jack! You haven’t gotthe conch! Let me speak. ” Again Ralph refers to the rules: “‘The rules!’shouted Ralph, ‘you’re breaking the rules!'” Jack replies with: “Who cares?”His reply is short and stabbing. Once Jack says this, the reader knows thatthere is no turning back.
The conversation continues: “Because the rules arethe only thing we’ve got!” And to end the argument about rules, Jack says: “Bollocks to the rules!. . . ” Jack then protests to using the conch: “‘Conch!Conch!’ shouted Jack, ‘we don’t need the conch anymore. ‘” Ralph later thinks tohimself: ” The world, that understandable and lawful world, was slippingaway. .
. “The conflict between the two of them, which was also caused by differentviews on the existence of a beast, culminate when Jack decides to separate fromRalph. When the groups separate, neither of them profit from it, only Ralph andPiggy realize this. Ralph’s group is not big enough to keep the signal firegoing, and Jack and the hunters do not have Piggy’s glasses to make their ownfire, to roast their pigs. Since most of the boys have lost the need forcivilization and the hope of being rescued, Ralph has lost control of them.
They now fear the beast, and Jack tells the boys that if they are hunters theycan protect themselves from the beast. So now Jack gets control of most of theboys. Ralph loses hope: “I’m frightened. Of us.
I want to go home. O god Iwant to go home. ” But Piggy was there to help him out of his slump for a bit. But when Piggy is killed, Ralph is helpless and desperate. He is alone and itseems that Ralph’s common sense has entirely been defeated.
There is a running theme in William Golding’s Lord of the Flies. Man issavage at heart, this is shown by Ralph in the pig hunt, and always ultimatelyreverting back to an evil and primitive nature. This is all shown by Jack andhis group of hunters when they have the pig dances, the pigs head as ascarifices and, last but not least, they turn into a group of savages. Ralph and his common sense stays almost the same throughout the book,it’s Jack and his hunters who change. To end, here’s a quote from DavidAnderson’s work entitled Nostaldia for the Primates:In this book Golding succeeds in giving convincing form to whichexists deep in our self-awareness.
By the skill of his writing, hetakes the reader step by step along the same regressive route asthat traversed by the boys on the island. . . Our first reaction arethose of ‘civilized’ people. But as the story continues, we findourselves being caught up in the thrill of the hunt and the exhilarat-ion of slaughter and blood and the whole elemental feeling of theisland and the sea.
. . The backing of Golding’s thesis comes not fromthe imaginary events on the island but from the reality of the readersresponse to them. Our minds turn to the outrages of our century -the slaughter of the first war , the concentration camps and atom-bombs of the second – and we realize that Golding has compelledus to acknowledge that there is in each of us a hidden recess whichhorrifyingly declares our complicity in torture and murder…Category: English