Lord of the Flies by William Golding

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In chapter 12 of Lord of the Flies, how does the naval officer view Jack? And why do the other boys weep?

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Gretchen Mussey eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In chapter 12, the British naval officer initially sees Ralph before the savages appear behind him to form a semicircle. Jack and the savages are painted with colored clay and wielding sharp sticks. After looking at the armed, painted boys, the British officer questions Ralph if they are engaging in "fun and games" or "Having a war or something?" (Golding, 288). When the officer asks who is the boss, Jack begins to step forward but changes his mind. Golding describes Jack by writing,

A little boy who wore the remains of an extraordinary black cap on his red hair and who carried the remains of a pair of spectacles at his waist . . . (289)

Golding's description of Jack stands in stark contrast to the malevolent tyrant he acted like before the officer arrived. Stripped of his authority, Jack is portrayed as a dirty, small child.

After the officer remarks that he would have thought a pack of British boys would have conducted themselves in a more civil, organized fashion, Ralph begins to think...

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