Lord of the Flies Essay

Submitted By yaymumme
Words: 689
Pages: 3

A Change in Leadership

A common beginning can push two people down two quite distinct paths. The only ingredients needed are motivations. Although Ralph’s leadership was favored at the onset of the boys’ island adventure, Jack’s quite differing leadership was popular at the end. Ralph’s style of leadership on the island is based on the assumption that the boys will only be stranded temporarily. He talks often about the importance of building a fire, because he sees it to be the only way they will be rescued. “We can help them to find us. If a ship comes near the island they may not notice us. So we must make smoke on top of the mountain. We must make a fire” (38). This notion is received by the boys with clamor and excitement as they scramble up the mountain, an early mark of their acceptance of subjugation to him. Ralph’s short-term outlook can be largely explained by his life back in England. “[My daddy’s] a commander in the Navy. When he gets leave he’ll come and rescue us… soon as he can” (13). He’s been growing up hearing stories of adventure and rescue, and his confidence in his father spurs him to plan for a short stay. Jack’s presumptuous long-term outlook justifies his institution of a tribal kingdom on the island. He is much more concerned with finding meat, a long-term sustainer, than he is with building a fire to be rescued. This is for multiple reasons. One reason is that since the beginning he has been hungry for power and feels the need to prove himself worthy of it. The first task presented to him is to kill a pig. He fails at this, which he explains by saying he was choosing a place to stab, but “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” (31). He couldn’t bring himself to kill something; he was afraid. He realizes this doesn’t help his campaign. In his mind, no true leader can back away from a challenge like that, so he ends with a promise that the next time would be merciless. Another reason for his kingdom mindset is that it is so much more fun than maintaining a fire. He’s a young boy, so naturally he favors fun over fruitless work. The third reason for his behavior is that he doesn’t believe that they will ever be rescued. He doesn’t have the confidence that Ralph has in his father. This lost hope eventually infects the other boys as well, leaving an island alive with despair.…