In The Lord of the Flies how does Jack give the boys a feeling of protection?When they join in Jack’s tribe why are they less scared?

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Throughout the novel, Jack is portrayed as an aggressive individual, who is also a successful hunter and continually challenges Ralph's leadership. Unlike Ralph, Jack values hunting and swimming, as opposed to maintaining the signal fire and building shelters. Jack represents humanity's primitive nature and rejects civility by painting his face and acting like a savage.

The majority of the boys are attracted to Jack's uninhibited lifestyle and enjoy hunting with him. As the novel progresses, they begin to view Jack as their leader and reject Ralph's authority. Jack's overwhelming bravado and masculinity provide a feeling of security for his followers. During hunting expeditions, the boys wear face paint and work as a group to kill pigs. They also follow Jack as he performs various rituals, which excite his hunters and develop their sense of loyalty towards him.

In chapter 8, Jack argues with Ralph and attempts to usurp power by holding an assembly meeting. Jack views himself as a better leader and gives the boys various reasons to vote him chief by telling them,

"[Ralph's] not a hunter. He'd never have got us meat. He isn't a prefect and we don't know anything about him. He just gives orders and expects people to obey for nothing." (Golding, 99)

Although the boys do not initially vote Jack chief, they do follow him and join his tribe while they are out collecting wood for another signal fire.

In chapter 9, Jack and his hunters kill a pig and hold a feast. While everyone is eating, Jack looks towards Piggy, Ralph, and Samneric and asks,

"Who's going to join my tribe? . . . I gave you food . . . and my hunters will protect you from the beast. Who will join my tribe?" (116)

Jack's comments reveal why the boys look towards him for protection. They view him as an experienced, fearless hunter, who can provide for them and protect each of them from the beast. The feeling of unity and protection the savages experience when they join Jack's tribe increases each member's confidence until they no longer feel threatened. Jack also manipulates his followers by performing rituals like leaving the pig's head for the beast. 

robertwilliam eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think the answer to this question comes most clearly at the assembly when Jack breaks off from Ralph and starts his own tribe, installing himself as chief. Ralph shouts...

“Because the rules are the only thing we’ve got!”
But Jack was shouting against him.
“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—!”
He gave a wild whoop and leapt down to the pale sand. At once the platform was full of noise and excitement, scramblings, screams and laughter.

Fear has gripped the boys: they are all terrified of the beast, and of danger - though, ironically, not at all terrified of the prospect of never being rescued: it's only Piggy and Ralph who really understand that fear.

Ralph's insistence on the signal fire and on being rescued is rational, and, in fact, the best way to get them rescued. But it doesn't address the boys' fear of the beast.

Because Jack can hunt and kill pigs, he's in a position to claim he can better defend the boys against the beast. He's got violence on his side: he can "hunt it down! We’ll close in and beat and beat and beat—!”". He draws the boys together into a strong team of hunters.

And that's why Jack's tribe seems to provide more security against the beast - and reduce fear.

wwjd | Student

Jack's whole attitude in the novel is "CONQUER!" The boys feel secure with him as their leader because he seems so confident that they can hunt and kill anything that gets in their way. Jack plays on the boys' fears. The boys do not want to be told to stay away from the mountain because there is a beast. They are afraid, and Jack convinces them that they can be stronger than anything.

Read the study guide:
Lord of the Flies

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