Jack Merridew; The Real Beast

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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.

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