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What Is The Significance Of Jack And Roger In The Lord Of The Flies? To What Extent Is Golding’s View Of Human Nature A Pessimistic One?

1268 words - 6 pages

Jack plays a very significant role throughout the novel. During the novel, Jack is portrayed as Ralphs rival and is often shown as the definition of what Golding calls, ‘mankind’s essential illness’. Roger is Jack’s right-hand man – He is to Jack as Piggy is to Ralph. When looking at these two characters it is easy to assume that Golding’s view of human nature is a pessimistic one.
At the start of the book Jack shows a belief in a democratic society, “I agree with Ralph. We’ve got to have rules and obey them. After all, we’re not savages.” Jack convinces the boys that there must be laws and codes of conduct otherwise the island will descend into mayhem and savagery. ...view middle of the document...

The vote between Jack and Ralph at the beginning of the book is a very important part. This is the first time there is competition and conflict between the two boys and Ralph triumphs, “The freckles on Jack’s face disappeared under a blush of mortification”. After the vote Ralph is eager to offer Jack something, “Jack’s in charge of the choir. They can be – what do you want them to be?” Jack replies with a short, direct answer, “Hunters.” This is the first sign we have of Jacks savage side and what is to become later in the book. Later in this chapter, Simon speaks highly of a bush of candle buds, “Jack slashed at one with his knife and the scent spilled over them.” This act by Jack shows his blatant disregard to anything precious and untouched, proving he has little respect for anything living. As the book continues not only do we see a change in Jack, we also see changes in Roger, “Roger stooped, picked up a stone, aimed and threw it at Henry – threw to miss.” Roger shows a sadistic evil that possesses him. He throws stones at Henry just for the joy of inflicting pain on another human being, but at the moment he cannot inflict any pain as his ‘arm was conditioned by a civilisation that knew nothing of him and was in ruins’. However, as the book progresses and the boys wander into further savagery the firm grip of modern civilisation is removed and Roger doesn’t hesitate to inflict pain on those around him. Towards the end of the book Roger has become free from the restraints of the protective parents, policeman and the law. The little stones Roger threw at Henry had changed to great boulders and this time he did not aim to miss, “High overhead, Roger, with a sense of delirious abandonment, leaned all his weight on the lever… The rock struck Piggy a glancing blow from chin to knee”. Roger has gone as far as actually murdering a boy.
Jack is very bloodthirsty and is obsessed with hunting. Everything he sees on the island he links with hunting. He sees the fire as a way to cook meat he has hunted. When he hears about the beast, he says “He will hunt it and kill”. The major changes in his identity occur, however, in chapters three and four. He has become animalistic, like a dog – “His nose only a few inches from the humid earth… dog-like... bolting... he became a furtive thing, ape-like.” The use of the word...

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