Does Jack really want to be rescued? Why or why not?It would be great if you could get direct quotes or text from the book to support your answer

Expert Answers
mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Chapter 4 the division between Ralph and Jack is already noted: 

By the time the pile [fire] was built, they were on different sides of a high barrier....Not even Ralph knew how a link between him and Jack had been snapped and fastened elsewhere.

Jack's stepping on Piggy's glasses is a destructive act of itself, but it is also symbolic of Jack's lack of respect for civilization since Piggy represents adult-like, civilized behavior in both his speech and physical appearance.  Later, Jack verbally rejects the rules of Ralph's civilized society

Bollocks to the rules!  We're strong--we hunt!  If there's a beast, we'll hunt it down!  We'll close in and beat and beat and beat--!

After Jack and the hunters become savages painted out of recognition" (11), they can kill with anonymity as they "beat and beat and beat" the brush to find Ralph.  In fact, Golding uses the word "savage" in reference to Jack and "tribe."  In the climactic Chapter 11, Ralph declares, "...we won't be painted...because we aren't savages."  Then, when Piggy shouts

Which is better--to be a pack of painted Indians like you are, or to be sensible like Ralph is?

Jack yells back as he and the "tribe" together form "a solid mass of menace that bristled with spears" (11). Later, the anonymous "devils' faces" swarm over a sow, whose headless body Ralph spies (foreshadowing the death of Piggy).  In the final chapter, Jack has completely degenerated into a savage.  Seeing the officer, Jack "started forward, then changed his mind and stood still."  Jack has gone too far.  He does not want to be rescued.

mrerick eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I'm going to disagree with those last two posts based on the very nature of children.  Because of the security and protection that Jack almost certainly had at home, he has to believe that at some point someone will come and save him.  Isn't this true of all kids?  I can watch my own young boys at home trying things that they know might have poor results because they also know that I won't let them get too hurt.  In school, we see kids pushing the envelope on a daily basis because they know that they are protected by adults, either immediately during whatever situation they're involved in or after the fact when accountability needs to be established.

My point is that kids spend large amounts of time doing stuff because they always feel the safety net below them.  One question I always pose to my students when reading this novel - If you were one of these young boys on the island, wouldn't you believe that at some point your mom or dad is just going to show up and save you?  It's like getting lost in Target although on a larger scale.

Jack is certainly making the most of his time on the island.  I think he's taking advantage of this opportunity to be mean and power hungry because deep-down, he has to feel that adults will get them sooner or later.  Yes Jack went way too far, and yes he's a vicious mess by the time the officer shows up, but he's still a little boy who probably misses home. 

ms-mcgregor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think Jack wants to be rescued but he is the kind of person who exploits every situation to his own advantage. When he finds himself on an island with a chance to become the ultimate leader he thinks he should be, he immediately says he wants to be chief because he is the "leader of the choir and head boy". When he is not chosen as chief, he still begins to try to shape the boys into the kind of society he thinks it should be. He is the first to say, "We've got to have rules, lots and lots of rules." Ironically, he is the first to break the rules but that does not matter. Jack is an opportunist and, although he agrees to watch the fire because he sees its importance to the Ralph and the group, he forgets about the fire as soon as a better opportunity, that of getting meat, come up. He abandons the fire to kill a pig thinking that will bring him the respect of the boys. As the novel continues, he exploits every opportunity to undermine Ralph's authority. He also allows "the beast" within him to control his actions, so his civilized conscience grows smaller and smaller. The thought of being rescued become secondary to his own fight for power and dominance. Eventually, he leaves the group to form his own tribe, which eventually includes beatings and murder. Ironically, it is civilization in the form of the British navy which saves Ralph from himself.

eabettencourt eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think the above post is accurate if you read the book on a literal level (and even then, ignoring that Jack has become an anarchist and a murderer is a bit of a stretch).  However, Golding wrote this story as an allegory, and, when read allegorically, Jack should be interpreted as not wanting, or needing, rescue.  This is not a children's story.  These kids are not, allegorically, kids, but characters in a microcosm that is meant to represent the larger macrocosm of the adult world, which is at war.

eabettencourt eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I agree with this last post.  Once Jack establishes his own tribe on the island, he has no desire to be rescued. 

nora22 | Student

I think Jack wants to be rescued as all children but he is taken by many things in the island being chief and control others to prove he is powerfull and i think if we read the last chapter it will be clear he wants to go home. on the other hand, i blieve Jack is savage but not the only one also Ralph but the same degree of savage like Jack because he is wise to some extent in many palces in the novel he wish if he can have fun like savage and he joins Jacks feast. i mean the atomospher that Golding creat allow this to happen if we have different setting i think we will have different plot

Read the study guide:
Lord of the Flies

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question