The Entities of Demise in Golding’s novel Lord of the Flies: Analysis of Jack and Fear
William Golding once said, “We have a disharmony in our natures. We cannot live together without injuring each other.” This is explored in William Golding’s novel Lord of the Flies. The novel begins after a plane transporting a group of school-aged boys crashes on an island leaving no adults. The boys start off civil and descend into savagery. Their ultimate decline of civilization lead to the death of the most civilized characters, furthermore, causing the downfall of the society. Although many may think Ralph is to blame, the culpability for the tragic events on the island lies with Jack and fear.
Contrary to the popular belief, some may think that Ralph is ultimately to blame for the demise of the island. Others believe this to be true because of Ralph’s poor leadership skills. For example, when the boys are chaotically chanting in a circle, the narrator states, “Piggy and Ralph, under the threat of the sky, found themselves eager to take a place in this demented but partly secure society” (Golding 152). This indicates that he gives in to the savagery of the other boys. He is setting a poor example for the others and conveying to them that they are acting appropriately. As a leader, he is expected to refuse to participate and terminate the uncivil behavior . However, Ralph is an exemplary leader taking into account he is only 12 years of age. For example, when the boys were making a fire, Ralph explained, “We’ve got to have special people for looking after the fire. Any day there may be a ship out there [… ] and if we have a signal going they’ll come and take us off. And another thing. We ought to have more rules. Where the conch is, that’s a meeting. The same up here as down there” (Golding 42). Ralph tries to assure that the boys know the main goal is to get rescued. Ralph remains as civilized as possible with the fire and rules. He maintains a certain amount of civility needed so he does not become savage. Therefore, Jack and fear are left as the main causes of the islands demise.
Jack is one of the main culprits responsible for the demise of the island. For example, Jack created the separation between the boys, making his own “tribe.” Jack causes the split in the boys because he does not believe in what Ralph portrays. He opines he is a better leader than Ralph. He then obtruded his believed superiority on the other boys which produced a division. Also, after the ship has passed, Ralph bitterly told Jack, “You let the fire go out” (Golding 69). The ship was a possible chance of rescue. Jack did not listen to Ralph, whose main goal was to get rescued. Due to Jack’s actions, the boys did not get rescued by the first ship that passed by the island, leaving them stranded for longer. Another example occurs in “Why Boys Become Vicious” by William Golding, he wrote, “If there is no one around to guide children, then they go wrong […] And when children go wrong they can often go wrong with vengeance” (6). Jack is a child and, as there was no authority on the island, he went “wrong.” As a result of the lack of order on the island, Jack easily harmed the other boys and nature around him because he felt threatened. His actions reflect the vengeance that builds within a child when they have no means of order or authority. Similarly, Jack uses fear to gain power leading it to be one of the major causes of downfall of the island.
Additionally, fear is another factor that is responsible for the demise of the island. For example, the boys were afraid of the “beast” that was not tangible. The boys believed there was a beast because of the false claim starting from the young boy with the birthmark. This theory that a beast was present continued throughout the whole book. This caused the boys to be frightened which, like the chaos on the island, collects and leads to the death of Simon. Also, Golding states when he is talking about inner evil, “When people are afraid, they discover the violence within them and when they are afraid together they discover that the violence within them can be almost bottomless” (6). The boys are afraid of the unknown on the island.They are frightened by the fact that they may not be alone on the island. They are afraid as a whole group which is why they find the “violence within them.” Another example occurs after the boys had murdered Simon, Ralph states, “I’m frightened. Of us. I want to go home. Oh God, I want to go home” (Golding 157). Ralph is scared of the boys and their inner evil. The inner evil of the boys is growing and harmful. Their inner evil is released and used to harm and even kill others. In essence, fear can cause demise and downfall.
In conclusion, the main reasons for the demise of the island are Jack and fear. One theme of the novel Lord of the Flies is power. Jack is a very power-hungry character, therefore, he is obsessed with gaining power and controlling others. Jack also uses fear to gain power and lead the boys who were following him. The most destruction-provoking entities are fear and powerful, manipulative leaders.