Lord of the Flies Questions and Answers
by William Golding

Lord of the Flies book cover
Start Your Free Trial

In Lord of the Flies, when Ralph is elected to be chief, how does Jack feel about it?

Expert Answers info

Gretchen Mussey eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2015

write10,309 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Law and Politics

When Ralph suggests that the boys vote for a chief, Jack immediately argues that he should be elected chief because he is chapter chorister, head boy, and can sing C sharp. Despite his pleas to be named chief, the majority of the boys select Ralph to be chief.

Golding writes that Jack is mortified by Ralph's election and briefly considers protesting the vote before he eventually acquiesces. As an authoritative natural leader, Jack feels that he should have been elected chief. The fact that Ralph becomes chief fills Jack with jealousy, embarrassment, and envy.

After Ralph is elected chief, he recognizes that Jack is mortified and puts him in charge of the choir, who hunt pigs throughout the island. As the story progresses, Jack takes charge of the hunters and gradually begins to undermine Ralph's authority whenever opportunities arise. After the boys discover the "beast" on the top of the mountain, Jack takes on a more prominent role as the boys's protector and eventually quits Ralph's group in order to establish his own tribe of savages at the opposite end of the island.

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Keri Sadler eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2008

write867 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Science, and History

Well, when the boys decide that they should have a chief, Jack immediately chirps up and puts himself forth for the role:

'Shut up,' said Ralph absently. He lifted the conch. 'Seems to me we ought to have a chief to decide things.'
'A chief! A chief!'
'I ought to be chief,' said Jack with simple arrogance, 'because I'm chapter chorister and head boy. I can sing C sharp.'
Another buzz.
'Well then,' said Jack, 'I-'
He hesitated. The dark boy, Roger, stirred at last and spoke up.
'Let's have a vote.' 'Yes!'
'Vote for a chief!' 'Let's vote-'

One rather suspects that, were the boys not to have opted for democracy, Jack would probably have ensured that he was in charge of the island just as he arrives in charge of the choir ("chapter chorister"). "Jack started to protest..." Golding tells us, but it was too late.

Ralph counted. 'I'm chief then.'
The circle of boys broke into applause. Even the choir applauded; and the freckles on Jack's face disappeared under a blush of mortification. He started up, then changed his mind and sat down again while the air rang. Ralph looked at him, eager to offer something.
'The choir belongs to you, of course.'

Jack is indeed annoyed, "mortified", by Ralph winning the election. And Ralph knows it: he offers him the choir to lead. This simple act of empathy from Ralph might well be considered the biggest mistake Ralph ever makes!

check Approved by eNotes Editorial