Lord of the Flies : Relationship Between Two Main Protagonists Essay
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American president Franklin D. Roosevelt once said that “If civilization is to survive, we must cultivate the science of human relationships – the ability of all peoples, of all kinds, to live together, in the same world at peace. “ This quotation fits very well in the novel Lord of the Flies written by William Golding in 1954. This story is about a group of young boys from British school, who found themselves on a tropical island after an airplane crash. This story shows how people can easily change when there are no laws or restrictions to prevent them from becoming wild and out of control and that the pure person’s character will come up in situation similar to this one.
We can find many different characters amongst all the boys, but I will try to focus on characteristics of two main protagonists and analyze the relationship between them and also their attitude to other boys. I would like to bring you a brief summary of Lord of the Flies so my description of each protagonist is more understandable.
In the middle of ragging war, a plane evacuating a group of schoolboys from Britain is shot down over a deserted tropical island. There is no one but young boys on the island, no adults, no authority and all of a sudden everything is upon them. There are older boys but majority of little ones or “littluns” as they start to call them.
Boys will realize that they need some supervision, someone who will be in charge of them and who will be giving orders so they do not become savages. They agree to make elections and boy named Ralph is elected as a chief. He chooses another older boy named Jack to be his assistant because he is already leading his choir. Now it is obvious that there are two most important characters in the story – Ralph and Jack. We also get to meet one of older boys called Piggy, who has immediately became a target of ridicule because of his appearance. Piggy is fat and wears glasses, which makes him not acceptable for kids´ games.
However Ralph is always his friend and he protects him from those who laugh at him. Ralph’s main idea is to set a fire so they can be rescued and to build shelters. Group is agreed to maintain the fire all day long and every time there is guard duty consisted of two boys looking after the fire. As the story goes on boys become tired of their duties and they start looking for something that brings them more entertainment. Into this comes Jack who wants them to be hunters and hunt pigs that are on the Island. Most of the boys find this to be fun so they stop listening to orders and rather go with Jack to hunt.
This is the moment where boys are separated into two groups according to their character. The incompatibilities of their temperament are growing much more from now on. Groups are being separated and Jack’s group grows in savagery. This finally culminates to full loss of control and these boys do what they want till the time they are rescued. As we can assume from previous paragraph Ralph is a boy with good character and he was always the one trying to prevent boys from becoming wild and from breaking the rules. He is also the most important protagonist in the story. He was chosen to be chief because of his natural talent of leadership, even though he sometimes also acts like a kid. As well as other boys he laughs at some boys.
He even does pick on Piggy from time to time. Ralph realizes the importance of being rescued therefore most of his orders are similar to what and adult would decide to do. This is the reason why most of the boys rather join Jack, because soon after plane crash they found out that this is a great opportunity to have lots of fun when there is no “real” supervision of any adult person. Jack on the other hand is the one who offers them pure child´s life full of games and adventure. He is also a natural leader and the fact that in the end of the story he makes everyone but Piggy and Ralph convert to his group is an ample proof of it. Unlike Ralph he is the leader of anarchy on the island.
Even though he does not like to follow rules of any kind he does in the beginning. Jack simply wants to hunt and have a good time, not seeming to care about being rescued; he and his tribe are perfect examples of savagery. The relationship ship between Ralph and Jack is essential to what happens in Lord of the flies. Both movies that were made based on this novel describe this relationship in different way. The later movie especially makes it much tenser that how it actually is in the book and since I saw the movies first I was very surprised how nice these boys to each other are in the book. Things start off well at the first meeting. The group of boys vote for a chief who as I have already mentioned turns out to be Ralph and everyone breaks into applause.
This of course makes Jack feel embarrassed that he has not been chosen to be chief and that his choir didn´t support him. However Ralph at this moment says that his choir belongs to him of course. This is im plying that Ralph wants to make Jack be important. Jack does appreciate this because due to this act he does not have to feel ashamed anymore. This is where their friendship begins though it does not take too long to break down. Ralph and Jack go together on first exploration and they experience a lot of fun while walking up to the highest point to find out whether they are on the island or not. Their friendship is growing in strength. At this point they listen to each others’ ideas and suggestions and we can see mutual respect.
When they find out that they really are on the island they go back to the rest of the group and Ralph tell them that they might be here for a long time before someone will come to rescue them. Here is Jack saying very important thing: “We’ve got to have rules and obey them. After all, we’re not savages. We’re English, and the English are best at everything. “ This sentence proves that even Jack had rational thinking in the beginning and that he agrees with Ralph. Soon after Jack does first step that will lead to future disagreement followed by separation of groups. He persuades two boys who are on fire guard duty to come with him for hunting because he needs them. They go with him and the fire dies.
Unfortunately at that moment ship goes by the island but there is no fire to attract its attention. Ralph rushes to the place of fire and finds out that boys are gone. When Jack with his hunters and dead pig comes back Ralph starts yelling at him and Jack is embarrassed again. Although he sees the mistake he has done and he publicly apologizes to him. Jack did not like the fact that Ralph was right and he starts to put together a bigger group of hunters where he is in the charge. The break down moment comes when Ralph calls together an assembly. He wants to discuss things that boys do wrong and give new rules. There has also appeared another problem – boys are afraid of a beast that they made up in their minds.
They are afraid that this beast will hunt them down and kill them. Ralph claims that there is no such thing and everyone should get back to work and not only play games all the time. After this Jack stands up and shouts: “You are just giving orders that don’t make any sense! “(Golding, p. 93) Ralph is surprised by him and he tries to explain the importance of rules for being rescued.
However 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–!” (Golding, p. 93) We can see sudden change in their relationship that was started by Jack. After a while there is another assembly, where Jack finally says: “I’m going off by myself. Ralph can catch his own pigs. Anyone who wants to hunt when I do can come too.” (Golding, p. 140) After this, boys start to split off. There is also nobody to keep the signal fire burn and the chance of rescue is therefore very low.
Unfortunately for Ralph most of them are younger and do not feel any responsibility and their desire after adventure and killing beast leads them to Jack´s side. In the end there is no one but Ralph and Piggy in Ralph´s group. Now there is almost no relationship between two main protagonists. Ralph still wants to explain the need of being together and help each other but Jack hates him and his group often attacks the place where these two boys stay.
Ralph and Piggy for the last time decide to go into their territory to explain that they have to act like grown-ups. Nobody wants to listen to them and they even throw down a piece of rock, which instantly kills Piggy. Ralph escapes and hides. He is being followed. Whole group was told by Jack that they have to kill him. Boys set grass and trees on fire to smoke him out and so Ralph runs all the way to the beach where he runs into naval officer, who is there to save them.
The end of the story only shows that Ralph´s orders had sense because it was the fire that attracted navy´s attention. Jack was only jealous and he wanted to have his own group of people. For this reason he decided to offer them something that Ralph could not because he had the responsibility of an adult. Jack turned into savage while Ralph kept his rational thinking. Their relationship has completely turned from the start till the end and we had plenty of time to realize who the good one is and who the bad one is.
[ 2 ]. GOLDING, William. Lord of the Flies. 1st edition. London : Faber and Faber, 1954. Fire on Mountain, p. 40.