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Lord of the Flies – Jack and Ralph

Jack and Ralph and discuss the way that the rivalry between them develops in the course of the novel. ” By comparing and contrasting the characters of Jack and Ralph it allows the reader to fully understand their characters and how each develops throughout the novel. Once this has been achieved the reason the rivalry occurs becomes evident and the novels most important qualities and themes emerge from these two characters. It is then that we are able to see why Ralph and Jacks friendship can never develop into anything but rivalry.

Throughout the novel we see that Ralph and Jack share similar qualities, but there is a great difference in the ay they use these attributes to benefit both themselves and others. Ralph uses his power to create a democracy, where each person has the right to voice their opinions and ideas. “Ill give the conch to the next person to speak. He can hold it when hes speaking… and he wont be interrupted. ”

The conch becomes a symbol of the right of a speaker to a fair hearing. While Jack uses his authority to produce a fascist, hostile environment where he controls the doings of his tribe. Tomorrow we shall hunt” and “He said we werent to let you in. ” Whilst both characters have the chance o exercise their power, both do so in a disparate way, with Ralph aiming to benefit the group as a whole, and Jack himself profiting from his actions. Ralph and Jack begin the novel with similar beliefs, both wanting to implement rules.

“I agree with Ralph. Weve got to have rules and obey them. ” Ralph concentrates on being rescued and Jack goes along with this taking on the responsibility that he and his choir will mind the fire. Well be responsible for keeping the fire going-“, but while Ralph remains focused on being rescued, Jacks new-found interest in hunting leads him to forget about rescue. Jack had to think for a moment before he could remember what rescue was. Rescue? Yes, of course! All the same, Id like to catch a pig first-. ” As the story evolves, so to do Ralph and Jacks different opinions. The pressure on Ralph and Jacks different ideas peak when Jack forgets about his responsibilities in order to hunt.

When Ralph tells Jack a ship had passed, and Jack had let the fire go out, because he had been hunting, all Jack can say is “You should have seen the blood! ” Now Jack is faced with two choices. “There was the brilliant world of hunting, tactics, fierce exhilaration, skill; and there was the orld of longing and baffled commonsense. Jack transferred the knife to his left hand and smudged blood over his forehead. ” We witness Jack step out of the world of civilisation and cross into a realm of savagery.

From here Jack and Ralphs similarities deteriorate and a gap develops between them, causing many problems due to conflicting viewpoints. They walked along, two continents of experience and feeling, unable to communicate. ” Both boys are tempted by the Beast, but while we see Jack succumb to his inner human desires and cross the line to brutality, Ralph resists temptation, although he finds it difficult. “Kill the pig. Cut her throat. Bash her in. Ralph watched envious, and resentful. ” Ralph knows that for the island to remain civilised he must not become what Jack has become. When Ralph first participates in a hunt he becomes excited. “Ralph was full of fright and apprehension and pride. I hit him!

The spear stuck in-“, but he realises that he would fail himself and the others if he gave into the Beast. Jack and Ralph prove to be similar, both recognising their inner desires, but each handle the situation differently. The rivalry that develops between Jack and Ralph, begins early in the novel, although it is subtle, and readers ay believe it is typical behaviour of boys. The first insight in to their rivalry is when Ralph announces they should vote for a chief. It is obvious that Jack wants to be chief, but Ralph is chosen.

“The freckles on Jacks face disappeared under a blush of mortification. Jack now feels he must prove himself better than Ralph. The rivalry develops builds tension until Jack and Ralph are on opposing sides, with Ralph standing for civilisation and humanity, and Jack delving into the world of savagery and murder. The gap between them becomes so strained that Jack feels his only option is to kill Ralph. “They hate you, Ralph. Theyre going to do you. ” (Sam and Eric). Ralph realises he has been outcasted, but does not regret his decision not to follow the others, and he now understands why he has been rejected.

Cos I had some sense. ” Ralph and Jack were never destined to be great friends, because their conflicting ideas, morals and opinions could only lead them to be rivals. Evidently, we must compare and contrast the characters of Jack and Ralph, so that we may discover and learn from Goldings true insight and significance of the story. Once the reader has discovered the characters similarities and differences it creates an understanding f Ralph and Jacks rivalry, and how it effects the outcome of the novel.

Golding intends for these characters to teach us valuable lessons and for them to bring relevance into our lives, and through Ralph and Jacks experiences the novel achieves just that, causing us to rethink our morals and how they effect those around us, as we are all inclined to judge ourselves by our ideals and others by their acts. It is important for Goldings readers to remember – “What lies behind us, and what lies before us, are tiny matters compared to what lies within us. ” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

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