Leadership:Lord Of The Flies Essay, Research Paper
Comparison of Leaders
Throughout the novel Lord of the Flies, William Golding is able to touch on the many aspects of our civilization through the various characters he creates. Leadership plays a very important role in the novel as it does in real life because the characters need to feel some sense of security in order for them to survive. The two main leaders in the story, through their similar and different leadership characteristics and objectives fight back and forth to gain the discipline of the other boys on the island and generally the power to make the decisions that they feel should be made. Both leaders, Jack and Ralph, experience leading the group in their own style, which is similar in their desire for control yet different pertaining to their leadership qualities and their objectives while on the island.
Ralph was amongst the first few characters mentioned in the story and he quickly takes to the role of gathering the surviving boys by calling out to all that are in the area. He believes in leading with a democratic style, which gives people freedom of opinion, as well as equality to all group members. This is seen as Ralph uses Piggy s idea for the conch to gathers the boys together in order to
express ones ideas or opinions (Golding 12). However, Ralph is not the only boy on the island who is looking to lead the boys, and he finds that out when Jack marches his band members in a militant style to the platform where Ralph is deciding what needs to be done for their survival (Golding 15-16). Jack quickly became a cruel and dominating person who tries to impose fear onto the boys in order to gain his own control. This is evident when he begins opposing Ralph s ideas about building a fire and picking fruit, to make himself look bigger and somewhat tough (Golding 22). However, a vote is thought up by one of the boys and Ralph s democratic and orderly style of leadership is elected and he becomes the leader of the group (Golding 19). Ralph begins by organizing the boys to branch off in-groups and work for their benefit, such as keeping the fire going, building huts and scanning the island for anything worthwhile (Golding 38). He believes that if everyone contributes by taking on one of the roles for survival, the entire group will benefit and hopefully be saved. Again, Jack opposes to the ideas of Ralph. He has no personal regards for anyone other then himself as he discards the search for the nameless kid with the red mark on his face, because he does not feel it is in his best interests (Golding 32). Jack is seen as a character that barely contributes to the needs and wants of the small community because he decides that it is tedious and he will have a better time trying to hunt down a pig.
Ralph uses logical solutions to problems that the group is faced with such as his ideas for building huts on the beach to give the littleuns a sense of security as they were having nightmares about monsters on the island (Golding
51). Jack however uses primitive solutions to deal with problems as he beats a littleun into submission when he is caught stealing a knife from one of the others (Golding 191). Jack also came upon the camp site of Ralph and brutally stole Piggy s glasses to start his own fire when Piggy would have allowed him to use them (Golding 186). Jack s primitive nature causes him to have to change the boys into emotionless savages to gain his power. He taught them to be wild and animal-like because there would be no chance that they were to be rescued. Ralph opposes Jack s methods of control, as he believes that the good nature of man will be superior to Jack s teachings. He questions them on their motives and tries to show them a peaceful solution until they are to be rescued. Both Ralph and Jack use what little time they have to lead the boys in the direction they think is best, however their methods are pretty much opposite to each other.
Control is an issue that both Jack and Ralph are forced to deal with as they constantly fight each other to gain it with the boys. Jack wants full control right from the beginning as he sees Ralph on top of the natural platform (Golding 15-16) discussing with the boys what they are going to do until they are rescued (Golding 223). Jack immediately comes into the picture and questions Ralph s ideas and later calls for a vote amongst the boys hoping that he will become elected (Golding 19). Ralph opens the story not quite sure what he has to do and becomes a leader when he understands that no one else is looking to take a standing role within the group. Once he encounters Jack, he wants full control of the group, as he does not appeal to the methods of leading that Jack is trying to impose on to the group. Ralph believes that he has the best ideas and
answers for the boys survival and only looks for control because he can not allow Jack to come in and lead the boys in the wrong direction. Ralph receives the nod as the leader of the group after he wins the election (Golding 19) which causes Jack to be in a frenzy and start to think of how he can take control. Midway through the novel Jack is able to take control of the boys as he begins to show his hunters of the fun they could have if they chose Jack as their new leader (Golding 140). In the end, both Jack and Ralph lose control of the situation when the navel officer comes onto the beach to take the boys back home (Golding 223-225). In the novel we see both Ralph and Jack wanting full control of the boys and attain it by using their leadership qualities to gain the respect and discipline of the others.
The objectives of the two boys while on the island were quite different as Ralph looks to help the boys survive until their rescue where as Jack looks to first please himself then to transform the boys into emotionless savages, living under his rule. Both Jack and Ralph oppose to the objectives of each other and find reasons to make their ideas sound more appealing to gain power amongst the boys.
Ralph s primary objective is just to keep the boys alive on the island until they are to be rescued. He has many ideas that are democratic and positively beneficial to all of the boys. He looks out for each member of the group and finds ways that everyone can contribute to make their stay on the island somewhat civilized. He creates a signal fire to help their chance for survival and assigns
individuals to maintain this fire so they will never miss a plane or ship that is travelling near their location (Golding 37). He assigns specific roles for each group of people to collect fresh water, ripe fruit and build huts (Golding 38-40). He also assigns a specific place for the boys to use as their disposal area and he gets extremely angry when they do not do what he asks of them (Golding 126-127).
Jack wants little to do with the objectives of Ralph. His objectives are first, to do whatever he feels like doing, later, to take power away from Ralph and lastly, to get rid of anyone who opposes him. Once Jack losses the vote to Ralph as leader of the group (Golding 19), he becomes quick to oppose everything Ralph plans to do. He states that his job is going to be to hunt pigs so he could provide the boys with meat and himself with something to pass the time and oppose Ralph s ideas. As he begins to take an interest in hunting, he knows that if he calls out to the boys to come and hunt with him, he will build up his power against Ralph. While hunting, he tells the boys that they are not going to be saved and that living a savage, undomesticated life is more fulfilling then Ralph s civilized way of life.
Once he becomes the leader of the boys, his objective changes to remove anyone who opposes him, meaning Simon, Piggy and Ralph. The savages kill Simon as Jack thought he was the beast and sends his boys to destroy him, as if he were a pig (Golding 169-170). Piggy is later killed as Jack starts to throw rocks at him which, leads to Roger pushing a boulder off the cliff crushing him
into the ground (Golding 200). Lastly Jack and the boys are finishing their objectives by hunting down Ralph, and nearly catch him, until they come across the Navy ship which is there to rescue them (Golding 223-225). Both Ralph and Jack have objectives, which are completely opposite to each other s which cause for much of the conflict throughout the story.
Throughout the story, Ralph and Jack are two of the characters who probably have the least in common mainly because they are trying to outdo each other by making the others ideas and beliefs seem obscure. They are similar in their desire for control over the group, however they are completely opposite pertaining to their leadership qualities and their objectives. Author William Golding creates these characters as opposites so he could have a general conflict, which is based on man against man to contribute to his other conflicts of man against environment and man against himself. Personal reflections of this author conclude that the bizarre setting and plot are difficult to comprehend upon the first reading yet further readings would create a more enjoyable story to understand.
Golding, William. Lord of the Flies. Boston, Mass: Faber and Faber Limited, 1958