Ralph and Jack signify different themes and ideas throughout ‘The Lord of the Flies’. They both have different personalities but in some aspects they are similar. For example, they both want to be leaders, but they want to lead in different ways. The two boys are from typical English public schools so their background is similar yet their personalities contrast. Ralph is calm and fair; he represents order, leadership and civilisation. On the other hand Jack is very authoritative and represents unbridled savagery and desire for power. As the book progresses we see these traits becoming even stronger in Jack, as if he were a dictator like Hitler from the Second World War, which was when the ‘Lord of the Flies’ was set.
When Ralph first finds himself stranded on the island, it is as if he couldn’t care less as to how he got there. The fact that he has just survived a plane crash, in which many adults have died in, does not seem to bother him at all. The first thing he does is rip off all his clothes and swim in the lagoon. This is quite childish behaviour and the fact that he is ripping off all his clothes shows that he is already starting to stray away from civilisation. It is not until Piggy finds him and starts asking intellectual questions as to how they got there and whether there is anyone else on the island that he starts to vaguely consider the situation.
As the book progresses Jack emerges with his choir. It is obvious that he is in control, ‘he shouted an order and they halted’. This shows he is an authoritative figure and the impression is given that he is controlling an army. Even though the two boys have not met, it is immediately clear that there are differences between them. Ralph is calmer and quite happy to take everything in his stride, whereas Jack remains in his choir uniform and still acts with a large sense of responsibility despite the fact he is hundreds of miles away from civilisation.
Ralph is democratic and more thoughtful. For example, before anything happens about being rescued he says ‘we ought to have a chief to decide things.’ Jack shows his arrogance emerges when he replies, ‘I ought to be chief’, as if he was a dictator without any care for other people’s opinions. In reply Ralph uses his democratic approach and decides, ‘Let’s have a vote’. Ralph’s decision to have a vote shows how fair he is and his approach to become a leader is democratic. On the other hand, it is clear that Jack is very self-centred and is prepared to push for the position of leader even if it happens in a manner not popular with the other boys. The situation of the Second World War is being reflected in the two boys’ contrasting personalities.
As the time that is spent on the island advances, Jack’s savage traits start to emerge. For example, when he goes hunting he lets the boys go off swimming whilst he continues. Unfortunately he catches nothing and goes back to camp. He describes the situation to Ralph, ‘I went on. I thought, by myself’ … ‘the madness came into his eyes again’ … ‘I thought I might kill’. Jack’s true traits are starting to emerge. His savage instinct is starting to become apparent; he is described as having madness in his eyes. He is starting to have a ‘compulsion’ to hunt and kill that was not apparent before because society and civilisation keeps people in control but when they are set free from this their natural or basic instincts start to emerge. However this is not true of everyone, Ralph has continued to remain calm and civilised;, building huts on the beach with Piggy, his advisor. His natural instincts are not savage but to try to find a means of remaining safe and being rescued.
Throughout the book Ralph relies on Piggy to help him with many decisions. The idea to blow the conch so that other boys would emerge from the island was Piggy’s idea as well as the idea to use his glasses to start the fire on the mountain. Piggy’s pragmatic and intellectual approach to the situation they are in helps Ralph yet sometimes the boys do not listen to him, especially Jack. Jack has a very autocratic approach and feels he can make the correct decisions himself.
His decline into savagery becomes apparent due to this and results in him punching Piggy and eventually killing him. For example after Piggy notices there is no smoke he tells Ralph but there is not much they can do, as the boys who were supposed to be watching the fire had gone hunting. Soon enough they notice a large group of figures coming down the beach chanting, ‘Kill the pig, Cut her throat. Spill her blood’. Jack is part of this group and it is apparent that the other boys have also acquired a lust for killing and hunting. However, Piggy drives Jack to violence by saying, ‘You didn’t ought to have let that fire out, you said you’d keep the smoke going’. After this Jack hits Piggy; Jack has lost the self control that was in place before he was held back from violence due to the moral trappings of society.
Later on in the book, Jack’s leadership starts to become more appealing to the boys. The lifestyle he is offering them with meat and protection from the beast is compelling for them in some aspects, ‘To-night we’re having a feast. We’ve killed a pig and we’ve got meat. You can come and eat with us if you like’. Eventually all the boys start to switch to Jack as their leader.
The boys have lost sight of what being civilise means and just want to follow a leader who offers a simple way of life; hunting, food and safety in the tribe. Ralph starts to give up hope, ‘So we can’t have a signal fire … We’re beaten’. The two boys’ contrasting opinions and aims are in competition and at the beginning of the book when society and civilisation was still in the minds of many of the boys they were prepared to have Ralph as their leader. However, as time has passed and their sense of civilisation has gradually disappeared the longer they are away from it, they have resorted to Jack for fun and a preferred lifestyle.
In some aspects Ralph and Jack are alike as leaders because they both want to get their own way. However their aims are different, Jack wants to hunt and Ralph wants to be rescued. Jack is the autocratic, less caring leader whereas Ralph is democratic and tries to do what is best for all the boys. In the end it turns out that the boys would prefer to be led by Jack. Golding is suggesting that it doesn’t matter who you are, even if you are from a privileged public school background, without the influences of society we will decline into savagery and our true natural instincts will emerge.
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“Jack made a rush and stabbed at Ralph’s chest with his spear. Ralph sensed the position of the weapon from the glimpse he caught of Jack’s arm and put the thrust aside with his own butt. Then he brought the end round and caught Jack a stinger across the ear. The were chest to chest, breathing fiercely, pushing and glaring. ”(196). Two strong types of leadership can lead to devastating outcomes. This is shown in William Golding’s Lord of the Flies. Ralph and Jack have two very different types of leadership that are at different ends of the spectrum.
The qualities of Ralph and Jack are different, Jack’s beliefs contrast those of Ralph, and the styles of leadership that Ralph and Jack use are as different as night and day. To begin, it takes different qualities to make a leader. Some of these qualities include sensibility, responsibility, and maturity. First, sensibility is very important when it comes decisions. Jack explains, “I am going off by myself. ”(140). By making rash decisions, Jack is showing the lack of sensibility in his leadership. Ralph tells the boys, “I’ve been along. By myself I went, think what’s what. I know what we need.
An assembly to put things straight. ” (84). Ralph, using common sense, makes his decisions wisely and does what he thinks is best for all of the boys. Second, to be a strong leader one of the qualities you must obtain in responsibility. Ralph shows responsibility over Jack. Responsibility being accountable for one person’s actions. Ralph shows responsibility when he stands up for Piggy when Jack and his tribe takes his glasses. Ralph was somewhat at fault for creating the two different tribes, so when Jack’s tribe takes Piggy’s glasses for fire, he takes responsibility for his actions and goes to retrieve the glasses.
Jack does not show responsibility because he does not take accountability for his actions. Jack only cares for himself so when he takes Piggy’s glasses, he does not give them back, even when Ralph tries to ask for them. Finally, in order to become an effective leader, you need a high level of maturity. Ralph is mature because he puts the boys over himself. While the boys are out playing, Ralph is building huts for the boys to live in. This demonstrates maturity because Ralph could be out playing instead of looking out for the other boys on the island.
Jack proclaims, “Serve you right if something did get you, you useless lot of crybabies! ”(88). Jack does not care for anyone other than himself. So by Jack wishing on the boys that the beast will get them, he is showing a high level of immaturity. Maturity, responsibility, and sensibility are very important when it comes to being in an effective leadership position. Next, Jack and Ralph have different types of leadership styles. Ralph believes that survival skills are is needed to get off of the island while Jack believes that all you need to do is hunt and have fun to survive.
To start off, Ralph believes that smoke is one of the key elements to get off of the island while Jack believes that hunting is the most important thing in survival. Ralph explains, “We can help them find us. If a ship comes near the island they may not notice us. So we must make smoke on the top of the mountain. We must make a fire. ”(37). Ralph is using his survival skills to try and attract attention to the island so they can get rescued. Jack says to Ralph, “We had to have them in our hunt. ”(73). Jack had just let the fire out because he took the boys that were on fire watch and took them hunting.
A boat had passed by while the fire was out and they were out hunting. By Jack choosing hunting over the fire being lit, he is showing that he cares more about hunting that survival. Next, Ralph believes that shelter is another important item in survival. As opposed to Jack who just wants to hunt all day and have meat. Ralph says, “And I work all day with nothing but Simon and you come back and you don’t even notice the huts! ”(55). Ralph is complaining about working on the shelters with just Simon and himself. Ralph believes that they need the shelter in case a storm comes. Jack exclaims, “But we want meat! (55). Jack is saying this to Ralph because he wants him to help with the shelters but Jack only wants to hunt have meat then help out around the island. Finally, Ralph believes in rules. He believes that by having rules that it creates some sort of authority and civilization on the island. Jack believes in all fun and does not care about the rules. Ralph created the conch as a symbol of power. The conch controls who is able to talk and it can bring all of the boys together for an assembly. By making the conch the ultimate power on the island, Ralph is trying to replace the missing authority, rules, and adults.
Ralph says, “The rules! You’re breaking the rules! ”(99). Jack replies with, “Who cares? ”(99). After Jack says this to all of the boys at one of the assemblies, he convinces all of the boys except Ralph, Simon, and Piggy to go down to the beach and play. By Jack doing the he shows that all Jack wants to do is be ignorant to the rules and have fun. In conclusion, the two different types of leaders have different beliefs on how to survive. Ralph believes in survival skills while Jack believes in hunting. Totalitarian dictator versus Democratic. These leadership types are extremely different.
Jack is a totalitarian dictator versus Ralph who has a democratic style of leadership. To start off, Jack rules by the emotional responses of his followers: he rules by charisma and hysteria. As opposed to Ralph who rules by laws and common sense. For example, Jack convinces the boys to come to his tribe. He does this by giving them what they want which is hunting and protection and by creating the war between them and Ralph, he is creating hysteria. Ralph, being a democratic leader, tries to continually convince the boys that all they need to do to get off of the island is to use common sense and survival skills.
Second, Ralph being a democratic leader, wants the people to help him make the decision making. He does this by creating the conch. The conch gives all people the right to talk but only when they are asked. This is done the same in normal civilization but by the voting process. All people are given the privilege to vote but only when they are asked to. Jack being the totalitarian dictator, makes all the decisions by himself and does not care what the people think about what decisions he makes or how they feel about it. This was presented in the same way by Hitler.
He made the decisions about killing millions of people and he did not care what anyone said or how they felt about it. To finish, in order for a totalitarian dictator to survive, this person would need to have henchmen. Roger is the henchman to Jack. As well as a totalitarian dictator, a democratic leader needs followers as well. Piggy is this follower Ralph. The difference between the two is that the totalitarian dictator uses his followers to do anything he says, but a democratic leader uses his followers as advisors and uses them to make decision collectively and not alone. Piggy is the advisor for Ralph. He gives him advise and knowledge.
When Ralph was upset about Simon’s death, Piggy tries to comfort him and give him advise on what to do next. Roger continually obeys Jack’s orders. If Jack were to tell Roger to kill anyone or anything that came onto his side of the island he would. For example, when Jack did tell Roger to kill anyone or anything that came onto his side of the island, he did. When Piggy came to retrieve his glasses from Jack, Roger killed him by rolling a giant rock down the hill, resulting in the death of Piggy. Roger and Jack can be closely related to the Nazis and Hitler. Hitler would give the Nazis a command and they would blindly obey.
This concluded in the Holocaust and the genocide of millions of people. Hitler would have never had been successful if it were not for the Nazis. On the democratic side of Ralph and Piggy, Piggy is always offering his advise and knowledge to Ralph. Being on the totalitarian side, Roger is always following Jack orders with no questions asked. Ralph is represented by a democratic leadership in which they like to share the power, use common sense, and have followers that give advice and knowledge. Totalitarian dictators want all of the power, control by emotional responses and they have henchmen who blindly follow their commands.
This represents Jack’s style of leadership. In Lord of the Flies by William Golding, Ralph and Jack have two extremely different styles of leadership. Throughout the novel, Ralph shows stronger leadership qualities than Jack by being more mature, responsible, and sensible. Within the story, the reader will learn that Ralph and Jack differ in their beliefs. Jack believes in fun and hunting while Ralph believes in survival skills. Finally, their styles of a totalitarian dictator versus a democratic leadership are very different. Even though these two styles of leadership are different in many ways, they are both needed on the island.
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The boys needed a leader that is mature, responsible, and sensible but they also needed a leader that is all work and no play. The island also needed a leader that would take charge in times of need, but made sure the decisions do not affect the boys in a harmful way. Though their leadership styles differ during their time on the island, Jack and Ralph are both very much needed. Contrasting the leadership of Ralph and Jack Lord of The Flies William Golding Bibliography Golding, W. (1954). Lord of the Flies: Faber and Faber Limited
Author: Wallace Hartsell
Lord of the Flies: Jack and Ralph Comparison
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