Lord of the Flies

In his first novel, William Golding used a group of boys
stranded on a tropical island to illustrate the malicious nature of
mankind. Lord of the Flies dealt with changes that the boys underwent
as they gradually adapted to the isolated freedom from society. Three
main characters depicted different effects on certain individuals
under those circumstances. Jack Merridew began as the arrogant and
self-righteous leader of a choir. The freedom of the island allowed
him to further develop the darker side of his personality as the Chief
of a savage tribe. Ralph started as a self-assured boy whose
confidence in himself came from the acceptance of his peers. He had a
fair nature as he was willing to listen to Piggy. He became
increasingly dependent on Piggy\'s wisdom and became lost in the
confusion around him. Towards the end of the story his rejection from
their society of savage boys forced him to fend for himself. Piggy
was an educated boy who had grown up as an outcast. Due to his
academic childhood, he was more mature than the others and retained
his civilized behaviour. But his experiences on the island gave him a
more realistic understanding of the cruelty possessed by some people.

The ordeals of the three boys on the island made them more aware of
the evil inside themselves and in some cases, made the false
politeness that had clothed them dissipate. However, the changes
experienced by one boy differed from those endured by another. This
is attributable to the physical and mental dissimilarities between
them.

Jack was first described with an ugly sense of cruelty that
made him naturally unlikeable. As leader of the choir and one of the
tallest boys on the island, Jack\'s physical height and authority
matched his arrogant personality. His desire to be Chief was clearly
evident in his first appearance. When the idea of having a Chief was
mentioned Jack spoke out immediately. "I ought to be chief," said

Jack with simple arrogance, "because I\'m chapter chorister and head
boy."  He led his choir by administering much discipline resulting
in forced obedience from the cloaked boys. His ill-nature was well
expressed through his impoliteness of saying, "Shut up, Fatty." at

Piggy. (p. 23) However, despite his unpleasant personality, his lack
of courage and his conscience prevented him from killing the first pig
they encountered. "They knew very well why he hadn\'t: because of the
enormity of the knife descending and cutting into living flesh;
because of the unbearable blood." (p. 34) Even at the meetings, Jack
was able to contain himself under the leadership of Ralph. He had
even suggested the implementation of rules to regulate themselves.

This was a Jack who was proud to be British, and who was shaped and
still bound by the laws of a civilized society. The freedom offered
to him by the island allowed Jack to express the darker sides of his
personality that he hid from the ideals of his past environment.

Without adults as a superior and responsible authority, he began to
lose his fear of being punished for improper actions and behaviours.

This freedom coupled with his malicious and arrogant personality made
it possible for him to quickly degenerate into a savage. He put on
paint, first to camouflage himself from the pigs. But he discovered
that the paint allowed him to hide the forbidden thoughts in his mind
that his facial expressions would otherwise betray. "The mask was a
thing on its own behind which Jack hid, liberated from shame and
self-consciousness." (p. 69) Through hunting, Jack lost his fear of
blood and of killing living animals. He reached a point where he
actually enjoyed the sensation of hunting a prey afraid of his spear
and knife. His natural desire for blood and violence was brought out
by his hunting of pigs. As Ralph became lost in his own confusion,

Jack began to assert himself as chief. The boys realizing that Jack
was a stronger and more self-assured leader gave in easily to the
freedom of Jack\'s savagery. Placed in a position of power and with
his followers sharing his crazed hunger for violence, Jack gained
encouragement to commit the vile acts of thievery and murder. Freed
from the conditions of a regulated society, Jack gradually became more
violent and the rules and proper behaviour by which he was brought up
were forgotten. The freedom given to him unveiled his true self under
the clothing worn by civilized people to hide his darker
characteristics.

Ralph was introduced as a fair and likeable boy whose
self-assured mad him feel secure even on the island without any
adults.