Compare the two societies in Lord of the Flies under Ralph and Jack.

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Lori Steinbach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Lord of the Flies by William Golding, the boys on the island clearly delineate into two groups--those who follow Ralph and those who follow Jack.  Each of these leaders has his own way of maintaining order and living life.

Ralph is the first leader chosen on the island, and he's everyone's leader.  Jack is appointed the leader of the hunters, but they still fall under Ralph's leadership.  Here there is some semblance of order, as seen by the use of the conch, and organization, as seen by their plans to create a living space.  Huts are to be built, fresh water is to be on hand, toilet areas are clearly designated, and food is gathered.  Ralph, with the guidance of Piggy, is able to maintain some sense of order and discipline, though the boys slowly begin to break off to do their own things. 

Soon Jack has become the second leader on the island, the leader of the hunters.  They are careless about maintaining the fire or doing the other work which needs doing; instead, they are consumed by hunting.  Jack holds sway over his "tribe" by using fear and intimidation.  It's an easy sell, at first, since most boys would rather hunt than work.  Once talk of the beast grows, Jack has to find a way to calm their fears and keep them in line.  He suggests leaving one of the pig's heads as a sacrifice for the beast in the hopes of allaying their fears.  (This head, of course, becomes the Lord of the Flies which "speaks" to Simon.)  As more boys join his tribe (either by choice or intimidation), Golding refers to them as "savages," and their behavior becomes more violent and aggressive. 

In the end, all but Ralph are members of Jack's tribe.  In their desperation to flush out their final prey (Ralph), they set the island on fire.  If not for their timely rescue, all of them would have died in the conflagration. 

Ralph and Jack are, says Golding, like two continents, adrift at sea.  As leaders, they could not be more different,  One is strong enough to capture all the players, so to speak, but the other is strong enough to stand alone when he must. 

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Lord of the Flies

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