Compare and contrast Ralph and Jack's different leadership styles up to chp5 and how it leads to conflict in Lord of the Flies.

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Kristen Lentz | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Ralph's style of leadership is much more democratic than Jack's. Early on, Ralph uses the conch to bring order to their assembly, and to give everyone a fair chance to talk.  He also shows consideration to all of the boys, bigguns and littluns alike.  He shows genuine concern over the littlun's well being, worrying about their lack of sleep and general problem with nightmares.  As a leader, Ralph actively follows his own rules and expectations; he expects huts to be built, so he works on the huts. 

Jack, on the other hand, uses his superiority as a hunter to assert himself as a leader.  Although Jack is keen to have rules at the beginning of the novel, he does not follow through or keep them.  He uses his position as hunter to exclude himself from some of the more menial tasks like keeping watch over the fire or building shelters.  In tribal meetings, he frequently downplayed or discounted the ideas of other boys, especially the littluns, viewing them as little more than babies.  He favors the hunt over all things, which ultimately leads to conflict between Jack and Ralph when the signal fire goes out. 

The main difference between Jack and Ralph's leadership stems from the boys' motivation.  Ralph wants to be a true leader and execute the job to his best ability, doing what is best for all the boys.  Jack is merely power hungry, and seeks to be chief merely to gain adulation.  Jack's attitude toward the rules reveals him to be self-centered, concerned with his own desires.