Ralph And Jack Essay, Research Paper
Connor, JustinEnglish Per 3January 11, 1999 Power Struggle Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. In Lord of the Flies, a novel by William Golding, power is the major theme in the story. Both characters Ralph and Jack are given extreme power; however, the manner in which each of them chooses to use it is what creates the novel s gripping action. Ralph with his democratic and just ideals and Jack with his unjust and evil action both prove to the reader that power is the overwhelming theme in Lord of the Flies. In Lord of the Flies Ralph is the valiant and strong-minded protagonist. The reader learns of him early on and is shown how he uses his power for good almost immediately. Ralph is by no means a submissive person, he shows this when he takes the conch from Piggy and begins to summon the others. Ralph wants to do things well, and as soon as possible, which is a firm start for a strong leader. He also wants to show that he can organize the boys, which helps to give way to his democratic style of leadership. While this first step is important to the story s power struggle by establishing Ralph s stance as the protagonist, he takes many more; one of this occurs when he realizes the importance of order, and the need for good leadership. Piggy makes the suggestion that Ralph should become the leader, however, Jack, who later becomes Ralph s mortal enemy, expresses his want for the position, and Ralph suggests a vote to rectify the situation. Voting is one of the key principals of a democratic society, and Ralph realizes that. This small action makes a large impact by letting the reader know how Ralph basically uses power. This voting idea shows that Ralph would like to see peace and equal freedoms between the boys. These few qualities are recognized as the partial make up of a strong and compassionate leader. Stronger evidence of how Ralph uses power for right does not become clear until a bit later in the story. At the point when Ralph wants to get the fire lit, and keep it that way, he asks the boys who would like to stay awake to mend the fire rather than order them into it. This allows Ralph to become more popular, but it also makes him very weak and naive to Jack s true intentions. Ralph does not try to control the boys, but rather he guides them much like a parent. The last act that shows Ralph s use of power is when the boys confront Ralph with the fear of the beast. Ralph hides his own fear from the boys in order to get them to see that there is no beast at all. This is a tremendously moral action because he sees that the boys are frightened; however, he does not attempt to use their fear against them as sort of a trump card. This compassion for human life is a grand attribute of a great leader, which Ralph overwhelmingly accomplishes.
Jack is on the opposite side of the spectrum from Ralph. Jack does not care about others in any way. The way Jack uses his power is simple; he rules by force. Jack, unlike Ralph derives his power from brute force rather than intellect and skill. The first example of this is his flourishing animal instincts. In the beginning of the story, Jack starts to trail pigs by scent and other primitive methods; he then forces his hunting and savage methods onto the other boys. His choir becomes hunters that dance and chant. These actions form the backbone for a ruthless power crazed maniac. This begins to show how Jack gets his way, through swift action and harsh punishment. These are not characteristics of a good, just, and moral man but rather a tyrannical lord. The next example occurs when the leadership changes. Jack is able to manipulate the boys into joining his tribe by using the fear of the beast to control them. In his tribe there is no discussion only obedience. Any deviation and the boys are beaten into submission. This type of leadership usually ends up with the need for more. Jack needs to control the boys and knows how to do it. He is very manipulative and conniving. Both those make Jack a person from whom one needs to keep away from, and a person whom you cant take you eye off, in either case, he is not a good choice for a leader. The next and final example of Jack s constant lust for power is shown when Jack comes to realize that anyone who stands in his way must be dealt with; and this, of course, means Ralph. When Ralph goes to talk to Jack, Jack wants to fight and kill him. Jack allows himself and the others to believe that the beast is in the hearts of their non-followers which leads to powerful hate towards all. Jack, no longer human, has become a complete savage, and he urges for increased omnipotence. These actions are those of an oppressor, one with little care or remorse for the men he controls, and whose lust will inevitably consume them all. Lord of the Flies is an extremely complex novel with many themes interwoven, but the intense ascendancy struggle between the two main characters, Ralph and Jack, overwhelmingly makes power the strongest of them all. So whether its Jack with his tormenting ways or Ralph and his democratic policy, the way in which they implement power is what makes it the underlying theme in the story.