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The Frightening Character of Jack in Lord of the Flies

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In his unique, ‘Lord of the Flies’, Golding highlights Jack and one of the story’s pivotal characters. Whilst it may initially appear that Jack is just among the numerous confused kids on the island, Golding quickly sets Jack aside from the other boys by developing his frightening character. In this essay I will analyse and explore the linguistic methods and structural elements of Golding’s writing to identify the methods which they provide Jack as such a frightening figure throughout the novel.

Golding provides Jack as such a frightening character in the unique as he explains how naturally ruthless he is. Golding explains how ‘he gave orders, sang, whistled, tossed remarks at the quiet Ralph’. The juxtaposition between giving orders and enjoyable activities such as singing and whistling, integrated with the aggressive lexis ‘tossed’, demonstrates how Jack lacks boundaries and that in his mind, the distinction between best and wrong is incredibly unclear, hence why it is so simple for Jack to be ruthless. The lexis ‘quiet’ has connotations of vulnerability, Golding’s objective being to reveal how Jack thrives on Ralph’s drawbacks, particularly due to the fact that at the start of the novel, Ralph is presented as a strong orator and is listened to by all the kids. Golding makes explicit the contrast in between these two characters, with the objective of foreshadowing later events in the unique whereby Jack rather quickly presumes the role of leader, denying Ralph of the title. This undoubtedly makes Jack a frightening figure as the reader feels understanding towards Ralph and his weakness compared to Jack’s power. Jack’s natural brutality is seen somewhere else in the novel as Golding explains how’ [Jack’s] laughter ended up being a bloodthirsty snarling.’ This is another example of juxtaposition where Golding contrasts his innocent qualities with his affinity for savagery. Because these two different sides of Jack’s temperament are so uncertain, the reader is continuously unsure of which ‘variation’ of Jack to anticipate, certainly providing him as a frightening character. Moreover, the animalistic imagery in the lexis ‘snarling’ is symbolic of Jacks decline into evil, the dehumanisation certainly providing him as a frightening character by implying he lacks self-control and the basic human moral impulse for right and wrong. Here Golding’s objective was to forewarn the reader that Jack’s primitive nature is something which does undoubtedly ended up being extremely hazardous later in the unique, making him a frightening character given that at this moment the reader hesitates of the possible repercussion that might develop as a result of Jack’s instinctive cruelty.

In addition, Golding makes Jack a frightening figure in the novel when exploring his design and success as leader of the young boys on the island. After Jack has achieved the role of leader, Golding explains how Jack ‘painted and garlanded, sat there like an idol’, this simile implying that Jack is certainly a leader, but more so a king or a god, the religious undertones of the lexis ‘idol’, suggesting that the young boys, instead of just merely complying with Jack, now worship him, undoubtedly presenting Jack as a frightening character as the reader questions how such a common kid handled to acquire such invincible power. Moreover, the effective descriptive noun ‘idol’ suggests Jack has a substantial quantity of control over the kids and the island and Golding’s intent by suggesting as such was to develop a foreboding tone whereby the reader considers what repercussions might take place now that Jack, an incredibly wicked yet shrewd character, has control over the minds of many impressionable young boys, indeed making him a very frightening figure. The progression of Jack’s power among the kids increases very gradually throughout the novel; in chapter 1 Jack struggles to even be thought about as leader, so that reality that now he has actually absolutely managed to persuade many young boys of his ability as leader, reveals Jack’s manipulative disposition, providing him as a possibly dangerous and frightening character. In addition, Jack’s totalitarian leadership design speaks a lot about his ethical worths, or absence of them. This is evident when the reader witnesses a turning point in the unique where Jack chooses that ‘the conch does not count at the top of the mountain’. This vital is exceptionally effective and definite, stresses Jack’s power as he develops leadership for one of the first times in the book. The extreme alliteration creates an extremely aggressive tone, which thinking about Jack is already so aggressive at this point fairly early on in his obtainment of power, foreshadows all the severe brutality that is yet to come in the novel. Golding’s intention at this point was to ensure the reader feels appropriately intimidated by Jack, indeed making his character a frightening one.

In addition, Golding suggests that a lot of Jack’s frightening nature is just an outcome of his positive persona, in that he is not scared to develop dominance and normally lacks the instinctive worry that exists amongst much of the other kids on the island. At the start of the novel Jack exclaims that’ [He] should be leader’, and Golding immediately allows the reader to comprehend that Jack is an extremely big-headed and certainly frightening figure. The lexis ‘ought’ implies Jack feels especially entitled and by placing him in a dystopian environment, Golding allows Jack to grow and acquire power, his immediately apparent assertive and self-assured disposition foreshadowing his impending facility of management. Jack’s frightening amount of self-confidence is typically shown in minutes of dispute, particularly those throughout the book that involve Ralph. In chapter 11, arguably at one of Jack’s a lot of harsh moments, Golding shows how ‘viciously, with full intention, [Jack] held his spear at Ralph’. This minute is really significant because the fate of both characters, undoubtedly that of Ralph considerably more so, is uncertain. Golding’s option to inform the reader that Jack’s actions are ‘with full intent’ is exceptionally intentional, and sets Jack aside from the other characters because it is clear he is not being controlled by anything or anybody, therefore making him a frightening figure, as the reader realises that Jack’s cruelty is most likely an outcome of a pre-existing tendency, instead of as a result of his situation. This significant aspect to Jack’s character, where he does not have the innocence that Golding portrays within the other young boys, combined with his abundant self-assertion is an essential part of how Golding makes Jack such a frightening figure throughout the novel.

In conclusion, Golding’s discussion of Jack as the main villain of the unique displays in him specific qualities that are especially frightening; it is through his effective employment of rhetorical devices, integrated with the thoroughly considered structure of his book that Golding is able to produce an emphatic sense of foreboding and represent the cruelty of Jack’s character and management style, that combined make Jack such a frightening figure throughout the novel.

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