Jack Merridew; The Real Beast

Photo: Shutterstock

Lord of the Flies is a thrilling novel with lots of symbols and themes. Every important character represents something that connects to the real world. One of the very important characters is Jack Merridew who represents anarchy and evilness. He can be compared to Stalin in the way that he seeks power by spreading fear among the boys at the island.

The novel starts with a plane that crashes at an unknown island where many British boys from the age of 6 to 12 are the only survivors. A boy named Ralph first meets Piggy, an overweight, smart boy. They encounter a conch which Ralph blows to gather all the other boys at the island. The conch becomes a symbol for order and civilization. During assemblies, the person holding the conch is only allowed to speak. We meet the arrogant Jack Merridew who is the leader of a choir group. In the assembly, they understand that they will need a chief. Jack demands that he will be the chief but gets humiliated when the boys select Ralph. Ralph’s first idea is to create a fire to have a signal for any passing boats or planes. They figure out that they will need food so Jack and his team are made hunters.

Hunting becomes a big part of Jack’s personality. He paints his face which works as camouflage. The mask segregates him from the other boys. William Golding wrote “The mask was a thing on its own, behind which Jack hid, liberated from shame and self-consciousness.” Hunting made him more and more violent and he was almost obsessed. When the other hunters were tired of looking for pigs, Jack kept on hunting. Hunting becomes something he does for more than just food. When he kills a pig he gains respect from the boys.

One night while the boys are assembled a small boy steps up with the conch. He says that there is a beast at the island and it comes during the night. All the boys are afraid of the beast, but Jack says that if there is a beast, he and his hunters will kill it.

As the book progresses, Jack wants to convince the other boys at the island that he should become chief. He is once more humiliated and then he unveils who he really is. Jack uses Piggy to show the other boys that he is not afraid. Piggy is more exposed because he is overweight and has asthma. He slaps and punches Piggy and interrupts him even if he is holding the conch. Jack says “Bollocks to the rules! We’re strong – we hunt!”, “We don’t need the conch any more”. This is when the book hits a turning point. Jack creates his own tribe and tells the boys that if they want, they can join him and the hunters and get meat whenever they want. Most of the boys join them because they are afraid of what Jack can do to them. Jack uses violence and fear to control the other boys.

Similar to Stalin, Jack doesn’t earn power, he demands it.

Towards the end of the book, when Simon meets the Lord of the Flies, we learn that the beast isn’t something they can’t kill but something that’s inside everyone. The fear is so strong that even Ralph and Piggy, the more educated and civilized people on the island were taken over when Simon returned from the Lord of the Flies. The beast is a fear and it is from the fear of Jack. Since the title of the book is “The Lord of the Flies”, I think we could say this is a pretty important moment.

Eduard’s Historical Fiction Vignettes

Killing Time

We had to wait for several days before we could enter America. There wasn’t much to do, but there were a lot of people. To make time pass, I observed these people. There were so many types; tall and short, big and small. I would look at tiny differences like bushy eyebrows or skinny ankles. I could call myself a professional. Most of them spoke languages I couldn’t recognize. Sometimes I would watch a small family for a long time and imagine their background and future.

There was a family that caught my eye and I watched them as long as we stayed on Ellis Island. There was a mother, a father, a brother, and a sister. The father was carrying a big sack which looked like it was all they owned. They didn’t talk much together — nor with anyone else. Their clothes appeared very dirty and they probably hadn’t showered in a long time.

Maybe they were forced to leave their home country, on account of the looks on their faces, long and pale like a ghost. Their bodies were skinny and their skin was rough. They looked hungry. I would give them some food if I had any for myself. While the rest of the family were sleeping, the father would stare into nothingness with a blank expression. Sometimes I wanted to go over and ask what he was thinking about.

Down With The Robber Barons!

I opened the door to the balcony to be met by a large herd of people shouting and carrying signs. They were all looking up at me chanting something that sounded like – “Down with the robber barons!”

I ran back inside and told my father about the riot on the street. I escorted him to the balcony to show him. I heard the crowd shouting.

“It’s him! The greedy man that’s been stealing our money!” Now they were going crazy. Was this about Daddy? What if they’re looking for him like an animal hunting for its prey. I asked my father what was going on.

“Business stuff. Now go to bed, boy.” I noticed sweat appearing on his forehead while he was rushing us back in. Quickly, he locked the door, but I still heard the people’s voices.

A Place to Stay

My back always hurt when I woke up. I had picked the shortest straw. There were ten of us living together in a rough tenement. I didn’t know the others very well and most of them I had never seen before. I met two of them on the ship to New York and three on Ellis island. They said I could hook up with them and I was mighty happy because I had nowhere to go.

In the tenement, there was a total 4 beds – two homemade bunk beds that looked like they could fall apart anytime. We could fit one maybe two on the top beds, and two on the lower beds. Then there was one old mattress that fit half a person. Nine people would take up that space if we were lucky, which would leave one unlucky person with nowhere to sleep — Me. I was still happy, at least I had a place to stay. A place that would be my new home. I would have to get used to it.

Parent Teacher Conference prep.

1) What has gone well so far?

I have gotten all my class work and homework done in time. I’m focusing in class and participating. I saw that I got distracted by sitting with some people so I moved to another table where I get less distracted. I’m good at asking questions when I don’t understand something.

2) What are things you need to work on?

Not starting side conversations. I also have to look at the board and get the handout when we start class and remember my homework.

3) What are your goals for the rest of the semester?

My goals for the rest of this semester is to always be on task in class and when I’m doing my homework.

Reflection – Motion and Speed

I have learned a lot more about motion in this unit. Before, I knew it was a type of movement, but I have gotten a deeper understanding of it. Now I think of it as more of a change in position and I think of it as speed and velocity and a reference point. I have learned that there are different ways to calculate motion. An example is by timing an object and finding the average speed. I also learned that you can visualize motion by for example putting your data in a distance over time graph. I think my understanding of motion compared to a scientist is pretty basic, but I think the principles of timing and recording data are the same.

I think the activity with the ball that rolled down the ramp and then straight was meaningful to me because I learned a lot about motion and visualizing it. And because I learned about timing the ball and putting the data in a table and a graph. A thing i found most fascinating was that our teacher asked if we thought the ball would travel in a constant speed and a couple of students thought so, but when we visualized it in our graph we could see that the ball increased its speed in the beginning and slowed down at the end. I think the most interesting thing about motion is that you can calculate how the speed of the motion changes depending on different variables. I think about motion when I play football and I have to figure out how hard my pass has to be to reach the other player before the defender gets it. A question I have is can you figure out the speed of light?

Something that was challenging for me was the directions in the Tumble Buggy assignment, but when I got help with it I understood it. It was kind of challenging because there were some advanced words and concepts I couldn’t understand. I can practice my science vocabulary and specifically around motion and speed to help me with this barrier.

If I could change something about the Tumble Buggy project it would be to maybe add some variables as we were timing the car. We could also for example add a turn. An idea I’d like to explore further would be to try another project with another object and different variables to make it harder and more fun. To improve this project we could add variables and change the speed to make it more difficult as I just said. We could make the road bumpy or put a fan to make it more difficult.

I think our next study of motion might be about something flying like airplanes or paper airplanes. Or it might be about objects falling to the ground and increasing its speed. It can be about a tree falling to the ground after being cut of. It could be about pulling or pushing by magnets known as force because it has a lot to do with motion. It’s the thing that makes things move and it’s a big topic.

Algebra Reflection

My idea of algebra has changed very much since the first time. It changed because this is the first time I’ve worked with it and I got a deeper understanding. At First I thought it was only substituting numbers with “x”s and “y”s but now I know it’s more for example algebraic equations and written expressions. We have gone through what I did wrong in class so I can understand it better.

The “border problem” connects with algebra because first we had to make an expression and then make it in algebra and writer a written expression. Then we learned to evaluate the expressions by making X ten and then using the X to solve the expressions.

Some other connections I made are that you use algebra everyday in the real world because algebra is about to finding the unknown. For example if you give your friend one apple one day and the other day two apples then you find the unknown of how many apples your friend gets.


This is the border problem. It’s the first algebraic problem we did.




Life under a microscope

Without the invention of the microscope people wouldn’t know what was living or not living according to the “six characteristics of life”. We wouldn’t know what a cell was or what plant cells or animal cells were. We wouldn’t even know what our bodies look like or how they work on the inside. That means that we wouldn’t be able to fix our bodies either, if something is wrong. Because to fix something we have to know how it works and how it looks. Without the microscope we would not know what a bacteria was or how to stop it. We wouldn’t know which bacterias were good and which were bad.

Microscopes have helped us a lot with health and medical challenges. We wouldn’t know how to stop diseases or bacterias like we do today. Because of the microscope we learned that we have to wash our hands to stay healthy.  This is one of many examples of how the microscope has helped us live longer and healthier lives. Before the microscope was invented people got diseases and didn’t know how to cure them, but now, because of the microscope, we even have vaccines to prevent us from diseases. With the help from the microscope we know how the dangerous bacterias react, and that is why we know how to stop them.

Noah’s Ark

How does Noah’s ark relate to algebra?

It relates to algebra because you had to find the the missing number of seals to make the decks balance each other that is what algebra is about. At first I thought we didn’t have to use algebra, but now I think. We had to use algebra to visualize our work more clear and to understand it better for example B=3z instead of ‘b equals z z z’. We also had to take many steps to get the answer with algebra.

Here you see the work that Ronan and Sanghun did. They used algebra and units instead of naked numbers.


Here is what Vasudha and her partner made. They used algebra to make it more clear and easier to understand.