In the beginning of chapter 3, how does Golding describe Jack?

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lffinj's profile pic

lffinj | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Assistant Educator

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In chapter 3 of Lord of the Flies, Jack is going through a great transformation which is evident by his change in dress and actions.  At the beginning of this chapter, Jack is bent over, hunting, and acting like an animal.  "Then dog-like, uncomfortably on all fours yet unheeding his discomfort he stole forward five yards and stopped."  Golding is comparing Jack to a dog who is on the prowl.  "He closed his eyes, raised his head and breath in gently with flared nostrils..."  Jack is down on the ground and is only wearing shorts and carrying a sharpened stick - his spear.  Golding also states that Jack acts "ape-like among the tangle of trees."  The imagery that is used to describe Jack is not that of a young, cultured, British boy, but rather one who is quite comfortable behaving like a savage hunting his prey.

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rmhope | College Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

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In chapter 3, Jack is becoming obsessed with hunting. As the chapter opens, he is tracking a pig by himself. First he is described as a sprinter, a comparison that portrays him as goal-driven—ready to pour himself into an exhausting effort to reach the finish line—which for him is killing a pig. Next he is described as crawling on all fours "yet unheeding his discomfort." This also shows how focused he is; even physical pain does not deter him from his quest.

Golding describes his physical appearance: his hair is becoming bleached blond by the sun, and it is getting shaggy. He wears only shorts, and his back is sunburnt and full of freckles. He carries a sharpened stick for a spear.

Although Jack at first uses his mental abilities for tracking the pig, he begins relying more and more on his innate, animalistic senses, especially his sense of smell. His blue eyes "in this frustration seemed bolting and nearly mad." This also shows that his reason is giving way to instinct. When a bird startles him, his reflexes make him catch his breath, and he jumps back in an "ape-like" motion.

Golding's description of Jack in this section shows his obsession with hunting and his becoming less governed by reason and more governed by his five senses and instincts. This change makes it harder for Ralph to see eye-to-eye with him, especially when Jack can't seem to remember what rescue is.


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