Lord of the Flies


I have to write an essay on the conflict between the two characters of Ralph and Jack. I need to explain what the conflict is about and discuss the significance to the novel as a whole. I am really stuck, i don't even know where to begin. Can you give me help and advice on how to write this essay ? Thanks

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In Golding’s novel, Lord of the Flies, Ralph and Jack are two distinct characters whose leadership qualities contrast so much that they become pitted against each other. Ralph and Jack come to symbolize the good and evil in life. Their leadership views are also very different, as Ralph signifies democracy, while Jack signifies dictatorship. The worlds these two boys live in contrast very much. Ralph stands for civilization and what is good, while under Jacks command the boys become evil and savage.

The most dangerous enemy is not the evil found without, but the evil found within each of us. The way Jack tempts the boys with the excitement of the bloodthirsty hunt, or insane tribal dances around a fire, suggests that Jack was actually a form of the devil himself, trying to lead the boys away from their wholesome faithful lives. Jack is leading them away from rescue. Jack appealed to the primitive side within most little boys, and had them forget all that they knew about civilization and being proper. Jack had formed his own little army of savages. Ralph on the other hand symbolized the good in men. Ralph was honest and innocent. He cared more about being rescued than he did about being in charge. Ralph, with Piggy at his side, tries to reign in order on the island.

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I agree pretty ,much with Caerus. I woulndn't say that Jack IS evil though; just that his inner Beast takes over him and makes him savage. Under his leadership, the other boys' Beasts take over, too. Even Ralph's beast comes out when he takes part in a hunt and stabs the boar.

Yes, Ralph is a better man, whose rule is all about rescue, i.e. what is best for the boys. In contrast, Jack's rule is all about his power. The irony is that Jack's rule is more effective with the boys, because he punishes disobedience while Ralph does not.

Oh--the notion of Beast being only in little boys is incorrect. That Beast is in all of us. At the end of the novel, when the boys are taken off the island, ARE they really rescued? They are removed from their little war to a ship that is fighting the same war on a much larger scale. Hence, the island is a true microcosm of our planet.

It's how the people are...Ralph is a strong, smart leader. He focuses on the issues and the problems. This is also why most of the mini-society followed Jack. They believed in the "fun" and richness of life instead of the supposed boredom that Ralph was giving. An example would be presidents, prime-ministers, etc.

At the end of the book, the characters begin to truly become animals and savages. They rely on instinct and natural hatred instead of wise, "common-sense" judgement. Golding meant the use of the battle cruiser rescuing them to be ironic. This is because he believes humans CAN'T be changed and divert from sin. Thus, he is refering to biblical features, as in Revealation.

Therefore, Coco is right. "The island is a true microcosm of our planet."

Agreed with all.

One point I would add: we all are fighting that inner beast. While earlier writers posed that man is basically good but society corrupts him, Golding poses that man is basically bad (beast) and society keeps the beast in check. Note the number of references to parents and law. One boy (Maurice?) is teasing littluns but is still aware of adults' rules, so he apologizes. Roger throws rocks, his arem conditioned by rules against such meanness and violence. Even at the beginning of the novel, the boys love the idea about rules (especailly Jack) and punishments. Sadly, without real adults to keep order, the boys' beasts take over. Slowly, but surely, they all become savage. Even Piggy--he takes part in Simon's murder.

Yes, the end is ironic. For all their order and authority, adults are beastly too. I think about what the boys will be coming "home" to, and it scares me.