The Transformation of Jack in William Golding’s Lord of the Flies Essay

The Transformation of Jack in William Golding’s Lord of the Flies

In the novel, Lord of the Flies, Jack is the character that experiences the most change. Jack begins the novel as a somewhat arrogant choirboy, who cries when he is not elected leader of the island. Jack is gradually transformed into a vicious killer who has no respect for human life. Through a series of stages, such as leading the choir, leading the hunting tribe, wearing the mask, killing Simon, separating from the group and intentionally killing Piggy, Jack degenerates from a normal, arrogant school boy into a savage beast.

At the beginning of the novel, Golding describes Jack’s physical appearance as “inside the floating cloak he was tall, thin and bony; his hair was red beneath the black cap. His face was crumpled and freckled and ugly without silliness” (20). Jack’s original intentions were to keep an organized group on the island. Jack agrees with Ralph when he brings the group together, saying, “I agree with Ralph. We’ve got to have rules and obey them. After all, we’re not savages. We’re English, and the English are the best at everything. So we’ve got to do the right things” (42). Although originally portrayed as a pretty normal boy, evidence of his hostility begins to emerge. While Piggy is talking, Jack exclaims, “you’re talking to much. Shut up fatty” (21).

Jack is made the leader of the hunting tribe. He and his hunters have much trouble trying to hunt and kill a pig. Since he was raised as part of a sophisticated and wealthy family in England, he has not had any experience with hunting before. He struggles to become a hunter. But Jack is shown to have savage urges early. The author says, “he [Jack] tried to convey the…

…a vicious killer who has no respect for human life.

Works Cited

Magill, Frank N., ed. Masterplots. Vol. 2. Englewood Cliffs: n.p., 1949. 3 vols.

Matuz, Roger., ed. Contemporary Literary Criticism. Vol. 58. Detroit: Gale, 1990. 68 vols.

Michel-Michot, Paulette. “The Myth of Innocence,”. Matuz 175-7.


You have a solid discussion of Jack’s transformation as well a good grasp of your language and grammar. Your introduction and your conclusion should be more detailed. In the introduction you should introduce the novel, itself, and introduce your topic. Why is a developing character important to the development of the novel? Your conclusion should discuss how the change in Jack’s character has affected the rest of the group, how it has affected the plot, and perhaps, why Jack’s character degenerated instead of improving.

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