In chapter 9 of Lord of the Flies, what kind of leader is Jack?

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durbanville eNotes educator| Certified Educator

By chapter 9 of Lord of The Flies things have changed dramatically. At the beginning of the novel all the boys acknowledge the need for rules and organization and Ralph is voted leader. Even Jack is appeased because, as Ralph says in chapter 1, "The choir belongs to you" and so Jack and his "hunters" look for ways to catch a pig. As time goes on it becomes obvious that Jack has a very different leadership style from that of Ralph and he does not have the same concerns for rescue. He even let the fire go out. In chapter 8 Jack suggests that by joining his tribe the boys can "hunt and feast and have fun." His tribe has a dangerous and unhealthy respect for Jack who has even satisfied the beast by leaving a "gift" for it. The head is a sickening sight, "dim-eyed...blood blackening between the teeth" and the boys are in awe and equally terrified of it. 

Jack's "party" is the subject of discussion between Piggy and Ralph and they are aware how Jack is influencing the others. Samneric and the others have all gone to Jack's side for some meat but Ralph pretends not to care. However, even Ralph and Piggy concede that going over to Jack's camp would be interesting, if only "to make sure nothing happens." This speaks to Jack's compelling personality. Even though they do not like him, they are inexplicably drawn to him. Jack is clearly superior to his tribe, making demands on them and passing instructions to them. He gives the appearance of concern, making sure everyone has had sufficient to eat but his tone of voice indicates his control of the situation as "his tone conveyed a warning."  

Jack relishes his power and takes an opportunity to rally and garner support for himself at a moment when the boys are full from eating and relaxed. He knows how to take advantage of a situation. Jack expects loyalty in return for the food he has just provided. Even though Jack has no respect for the conch, he is aware how powerful a symbol it is and its absence from the party gives Jack an opportunity to assert himself fully. Even when the boys become uneasy at the approaching storm and Jack's inadequate shelters, Jack deflects the issue and encourages the dancing and chanting which he knows will ensure their loyalty to a "demented but partly secure society." 

renelane eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Jack , in this chapter, resembles that of a roman "royalty" figure. He is adorned in garlands, and his face and body painted, and is sitting on his own, which is indicative of his role now, that of absolute power. The conch no longer has any meaning, he is not focused on democracy, only his rule.

In this chapter, he is also the benevolent ruler. There are platters of meat, overflowing piles of fruit, and coconut shells filled with drink. He calls for meat, and instructs them all to indulge to their content. The same for drinks. Then he orders every person to dance.

His magnanimous attitude, the fulfillment of the groups need for self-gratification, and such allow him to take over with very little protest, even from Ralph.

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Lord of the Flies

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