Most human beings tend to always hunt for power, and once they gain power, one wants more. The idea of power struggle is very relevant in this novel. Golding uses Ralph and Jack to show power struggle many times throughout the novel. Ralph and Jack have different opinions between what is good, what is evil, and different ideas about leadership.
Ralph and Jack have varying views on what was acceptable in society. Ralph wants to keep the fire going, create an orderly society, and keep everyone on the same page. Ralph wants to make the most out of being stuck on the island, “Seems to me we ought to have a chief to decide things” (Golding 20), he became leader so it would have some order. Ralph knew if everyone could make their own decisions, it would never run smoothly, so he became the leader with the conch shell. Jack on the other hand wanted to kill the animals on the island, and he wanted to be the leader. Jack was a part of the hunter group in order to get food for the boys, “All the same you need an army for hunting. Hunting pigs” (30). Jack wants the island to run his way, and when it did not run his way, he would get angry and rebel against Ralph. Jack wants to kill all of the animals on the island because once he killed one, he felt powerful. Once Ralph realizes what he was doing, he no longer wants to kill the animals. Ralph does not want to kill the pigs anymore and does not want that going on while he was leader, but Jack likes the killing aspect and wants it to continue.
Ralph saw a lot of evil in their new society, but Jack went completely savage and no longer saw anything. When Jack killed simon, Ralph was devastated. Ralph saw Jack go completely crazy, “Kill the beast, cut his throat, spill his blood” (138). Jack wanted to kill the beast and he would kill anyone or anything that got in his way. Ralph wanted Jack to stop because he was putting himself and others in danger, but Jack did not care. Jack went so savage he did not see anything wrong with the society. He wanted to take the power from Ralph and was willing to do whatever it took in order to gain the power. At the end of the novel, the hunting group sets fire to the forest in order to get Ralph out of it so they can kill him. Jack was willing to risk everyone’s life to gain power for himself. Jack was willing to go to extremes in order to get rid of people, “Push off Ralph” (171). Jack wants to kill Ralph in order to get his power because everyone would listen to him because throughout the whole time on the island Jack has been “brainwashing” them to believe what he says. Ralph was watching out for things Jack might try and pull on him because of his evil and not stable mindset.
Ralph and Jack have varying opinions on leadership. Ralph is democratic and very organized. Ralph uses the conch shell in order to call the people on the island, “We can use this to call the others. Have a meeting. They’ll come when they hear us”(15). Ralph wants everyone to be treated equally even the littluns. He believes if everyone participates in some way to better the society, it will run smoothly. Jack is selfish and self-absorbed. Jack humiliates Piggy on how he eats and constantly puts others down. When Ralph challenges Jack’s authority, he gets angry and wants to fight. Ralph wants to talk it out with Jack, but it never works because Jack acts very savage. Ralph takes care of his followers, and Jack only cares about himself. Jack wants to take all of the power from Ralph, yet Ralph is a much better leader due to his communication skills and how he deals with situations.
Ralph and Jack have different opinions on good, evil, and leadership, which causes a feud over power throughout the novel. Golding uses great examples of power struggle throughout the novel. The novel shows us how power struggle is used everywhere and in our everyday lives.
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