Essay on Contrasting Ralph and Jack in Lord of the Flies

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Contrasting Ralph and Jack in Lord of the Flies  

 

Ralph and Jack are both powerful and meaningful characters in William Golding's novel, Lord of the Flies.  Ralph is an excellent leader; responsible, and stands for all that is good.  Jack is a destructive hunter, selfish, and represents evil.  These two main characters can be compared by the actions they take as leaders, their personalities, and what they symbolize in the story.

 

            Ralph first takes on the position as leader at the beginning of the story, when the rest of the boys vote him in as chief.  He carries this position until Jack and his fellow hunters break away
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Ralph represents law, order, organized society and moral integrity. Throughout the novel he is constantly making common-sense rules for the boys to follow. Unlike Ralph, Jack is unkind, caring about no one but himself and how he can benefit.   Jack simply wants to hunt and have a good time.  He makes fun of Piggy, humiliating him, making him feel small and unworthy.  "You would, would you? Fatty.... and Jack smacked Piggy's head" (Golding 78). Jack is a lost boy who begins to discover the evil within him.  When he proposes to the group that he should be the new chief, they do not respond in his favor, and Jack runs away, hurt and rejected.  He swallows his hurt ego and throws all of his energy into the only thing he seems to know how to do - hunting.  He puts on face paint and hides his conscience.  This changes him into a savage, an evil, violent monster. The colorful mask allows Jack to forget everything he was taught back in England.  "The mask was a thing on its own, behind which Jack hid, liberated from shame and self-consciousness" (Golding
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