Adventures, Conflicts, and Struggles in “Lord of the Flies”
William Golding’s Lord of the Flies is a fictional novel which tells of a group of boys who are stranded on an island with no adult supervision, and their adventures, conflicts, and struggles. The boys are stranded on an island and one of the boys, Ralph, becomes the leader of the boys and is trying his hardest to get the boys rescued. Meanwhile, another, Jack, shows no intention of getting off the island and makes a band of hunters which spend all their time hunting the native pigs on the island. Eventually, the boys become polar opposites: Ralph representing morality and wisdom, and Jack representing savagery, irresponsibility, and insanity.
Ralph tries to save the boys, while Jack doesn’t care about their survival. At the beginning of the story, he starts by proposing a fire which is to be used as a smoke signal to passing ships. Jack eagerly leads the boys up the mountain, although he seems more excited for the actual fire than he does about getting rescued (29). This shows how Ralph grows up throughout the story, while Jack seems to become more of a kid. Piggy even says after they go up the mountain, “Acting like a crowd of kids!” out of frustration that they are just messing around instead of being rational and trying to get off the island. The only thing Jack seems to care about is hunting the wild pigs on the island. He doesn’t care that he also does this at the expense of everyone else, as he doesn’t even seem to care that he let the fire die while he was hunting one measly pig, even though he was ordered to make sure the fire did not go out (52-53). Like previously stated, he doesn’t seem to care, while Ralph is freaking out because a helicopter, which could have seen said fire (if it had not died) and rescued the boys, passed over the island. Yet Jack did not care and even got mad at Ralph for yelling at him; he only cared about that pig he caught. This demonstrates the lack of care Jack has about everyone on the island’s safety.
Ralph manages to keep his sanity, while Jack loses it. Both Ralph and Jack become more and less civilized respectively. Ralph becomes the leader and maintains order using a conch at the meetings: “That’s what this shell’s called. I’ll give the conch to the next person to speak. He can hold it when he’s speaking… And he won’t be interrupted: Except by me,” (25) said Ralph at the first meeting. He was creating a rule for the boys by doing this. Note that later on in the story, Jack completely disgraces this rule. Jack loses his sanity so much that he (indirectly) ends up killing Piggy and starts hunting Ralph, and would have killed him if the navy hadn’t shown up (155-158). This literally shows how insane Jack is by the end of the story. While Jack didn’t actually kill him directly, he created a society where killing Piggy would be ok; mind you, when Piggy died, he felt no remorse. At the end of the story, Jack orders the hunters to hunt Ralph, and they nearly killed him and, as stated previously, would have lest the naval officer had not shown up. This shows how Ralph has kept his wits while Jack has lost them.
Throughout the story, two similar boys gradually become completely different. Ralph becomes more responsible for his actions, keeps his sanity despite the harsh circumstances, and protects the boys like a good leader. One can even say he is like Jesus or Moses in this story. Unlike Ralph, Jack becomes less responsible, he succumbed to the harsh situation and became a savage, lost his sanity, and kills Simon, indirectly killed Piggy, and hunted Ralph. By the end of the story, one can say he is not that different from a rabid dog. Harsh situations reveal the person inside you, which is shown throughout the story, most vividly in these two boys.