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William Golding's Young Character In His Novel Lord Of The Flies

What would happen if a group of young boys get stranded on an island? In William Golding’s novel Lord of the Flies, the answer is written within the pages of this intriguing book. This book is about a group of boys stranded on an island after their plane crashed into the ocean nearby. The boys over time develop physically and emotionally through various tasks and challenges that push their boundaries and lead to them showing their true identity. The novel focuses on the conflict between two competing personality types that Golding suggests is in all human beings; good vs evil.

For example, Jack Marridew represents all things violent and shows his dominant personality by emotionally scarring anyone he doesn’t like. His interests include hunting, making rules, and punishing anyone who doesn’t follow them, even if they were made up on the spot. Under pressure, the boys make harsh decisions that lead to a not-so-great ending. When an individual is faced with an overwhelming challenge, it reveals a suppressed dominant identity.

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Jack is a character who is very particular when it comes to hiding his emotions; as he is still a young boy. From the beginning of the book he puts up a barrier of aggression so you can’t tell what he’s feeling. His pale complexion exposes his blushing cheeks from embarrassment and jealousy. “He was safe from shame or self consciousness behind the mask of his paint·” When Jack puts on the mask, it hides his insecurities and gives him confidence to commit to any type of abusive act.

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Roger, a follower of Jack, recognizes the mask as “the possibility of irresponsible behaviour.”

Jack doesn’t recognise himself in the warpaint as it reveals a different side of him. Before they dropped on the island, british boys are schooled to act like gentleman; growing up, any deviant act was punished, contrasting the time on the island. Now that the civilization part of Jack is slowing dying, he is allowing himself to express who he truly is, a bloodthirsty kid that was suppressed by society’s expectations.

Jack, as a character, is also very physical. He expresses his hatred for Ralph, the protagonist, through trying to take his power away and to eventually to kill him. Ralph threatens his strength and power so when they go to investigate the undiscovered island, Jack challenges Ralph saying “coming?” to prove to the other boys that he is stronger and should be their new leader. Jack tries to control everyone on the island but he leads through fear and dictatorship, rather than freedom and democracy as supported through the quote “next time there will be no mercy.” Here jack is talking about killing his first pig. This foreshadows the end of the book when he shows the boys no mercy by murdering Simon and Piggy. Jack says, ”Kill the pig, cut her throat, spill the blood.” This becomes the chant every time a pig is killed; we see Jack’s dominance over the boys growing stronger. He says, ”You should have seen the blood!” His descent into savage behavior has begun.

Golding makes Jack a fascinating character as he makes him change from a delicate young boy to a terrifying and reckless young man. Throughout this book, we perceive jack as a self conscious boy with savage behavior. He makes living on the island more difficult than before through his dominate nature and outgoing personality. Emotionally, Jack learns to conceal his feelings of embarrassment and jealousy and turn it into rage and aggression. Jack is the little savage in all of us.

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William Golding's Young Character In His Novel Lord Of The Flies. (2019, Dec 05). Retrieved from

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