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Leadership: Lord of the Flies

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Comparison of Leaders

Throughout the novel Lord of the Flies, William Golding is able to touch on the many aspects of our civilization through the various characters he creates. Leadership plays a very important role in the novel as it does in real life because the characters need to feel some sense of security in order for them to survive. The two main leaders in the story, through their similar and different leadership characteristics and objectives fight back and forth to gain the discipline of the other boys on the island and generally the power to make the decisions that they feel should be made. Both leaders, Jack and Ralph, experience leading the group in their own style, which is similar in their desire for control yet different pertaining to their leadership qualities and their objectives while on the island.

Ralph was amongst the first few characters mentioned in the story and he quickly takes to the role of gathering the surviving boys by calling out to all that are in the area. He believes in leading with a democratic style, which gives people freedom of opinion, as well as equality to all group members. This is seen as Ralph uses Piggy's idea for the conch to gathers the boys together in order to

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express ones ideas or opinions (Golding 12). However, Ralph is not the only boy on the island who is looking to lead the boys, and he finds that out when Jack marches his band members in a militant style to the platform where Ralph is deciding what needs to be done for their survival (Golding 15-16). Jack quickly became a cruel and dominating person who tries to impose fear onto the boys in order to gain his own control. This is evident when he begins opposing Ralph's ideas about building a fire and picking fruit, to make himself look bigger and somewhat tough (Golding 22). However, a vote is thought up by one of the boys and Ralph's democratic and orderly style of leadership is elected and he becomes the leader of the group (Golding 19). Ralph begins by organizing the boys to branch off in-groups and work for their benefit, such as keeping the fire going, building huts and scanning the island for anything worthwhile (Golding 38). He believes that if everyone contributes by taking on one of the roles for survival, the entire group will benefit and hopefully be saved. Again, Jack opposes to the ideas of Ralph. He has no personal regards for anyone other then himself as he discards the search for the nameless kid with the red mark on his face, because he does not feel it is in his best interests (Golding 32). Jack is seen as a character that barely contributes to the needs and wants of the small community because he decides that it is tedious and he will have a better time trying to hunt down a pig.

Ralph uses logical solutions to problems that the group is faced with such as his ideas for building huts on the beach to give the "littleuns" a sense of security as they were having nightmares about monsters on the island (Golding

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51). Jack however uses primitive solutions to deal with problems as he beats a "littleun" into submission when he is caught stealing a knife from one of the others (Golding 191). Jack also came upon the camp site of Ralph and brutally stole Piggy's glasses to start his own fire when Piggy would have allowed him to use them (Golding 186). Jack's primitive nature causes him to have to change the boys into emotionless savages to gain his power. He taught them to be wild and animal-like because there would be no chance that they were to be rescued. Ralph opposes Jack's methods of control, as he believes that the good nature of man will be superior to Jack's teachings. He questions them on their motives and tries to show them a peaceful solution until they are to be rescued. Both Ralph and Jack use what little time they have to lead the boys in the direction they think is best, however their methods are pretty much opposite to each other.

Control is an issue that both Jack and Ralph are forced to deal with as they constantly fight each other to gain it with the boys. Jack wants full control right from the beginning as he sees Ralph on top of the "natural platform" (Golding 15-16) discussing with the boys what they are going to do until they are rescued (Golding 223). Jack immediately comes into the picture and questions Ralph's ideas and later calls for a vote amongst the boys hoping that he will become elected (Golding 19). Ralph opens the story not quite sure what he has to do and becomes a leader when he understands that no one else is looking to take a standing role within the group. Once he encounters Jack, he wants full control of the group, as he does not appeal to the methods of leading that Jack is trying to impose on to the group. Ralph believes that he has the best ideas and

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answers for the boys' survival and only looks for control because he can not allow Jack to come in and lead the boys in the wrong direction. Ralph receives the nod as the leader of the group after he wins the election (Golding 19) which causes Jack to be in a frenzy and start to think of how he can take control. Midway through the novel Jack is able to take control of the boys as he begins to show his hunters of the fun they could have if they chose Jack as their new leader (Golding 140). In the end, both Jack and Ralph lose control of the situation when the navel officer comes onto the beach to take the boys back home (Golding 223-225). In the novel we see both Ralph and Jack wanting full control of the boys and attain it by using their leadership qualities to gain the respect and discipline of the others.




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