Two separate illustrations of an animal head and a fire on a mountain

Lord of the Flies

by William Golding

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How does jack propose to rule without the conch in Lord of the Flies?

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Jack rejects the conch's authority and proposes that it does not count on the other side of the island. While Ralph attempts to establish a civil society with rules and structure, Jack completely rejects civility and champions savagery. Jack would rather hunt, play in the pool, and hurt others than complete necessary tasks to ensure survival and increase their chances of being rescued. Jack proposes to rule without the conch by threatening, harming, and manipulating his followers. Jack publicly tortures those who disagree with him, propagates the belief in the beast, and manipulates his followers into believing that only he can protect them. Jack also presents himself as a fearless, talented hunter who can provide for his group of boys. In addition to Jack's manipulative actions, he also undermines Ralph's authority by calling him a coward and mentioning his close friendship with Piggy. Overall, Jack rules his tribe of savages like a tyrant and has no need for the conch. Unlike Ralph, Jack focuses on the boys' primitive desires and rejects the idea of civility, which is what the conch symbolizes.

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After Jack childishly splits from the original tribe of boys claiming, "I'm not going to play any longer! Not with you!" to Ralph and the others, he redefines his role as leader through his ability to hunt and provide meat.  No where is this more evident than the later scene when Jack organizes a feast on the far end of the beach.  Ralph actually threatens to use the conch and call a meeting, but Jack rejects the power of the conch by informing Ralph that the "conch doesn't count on this end of the island" (150). 

Jack plans to rule without the conch, and in order for this notion to be accepted by the other boys, he must completely reject and undermine the conch's significance and purpose.  Jack's rejection of the conch undermines Ralph's authority; the reader can infer Jack's hidden meaning, which is, of course, that he feels that the conch should not count on the other side of the island either.  Jack's denial of the conch's significance and purpose showcases yet another way in which Jack has turned his back on another of the more civilized ideals remaining on the island.

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In Lord of the Flies, how does Jack propose to rule without the conch? Why does Jack organize a feast?

In Lord of the Flies, William Golding reveals the effects that a lack of order and civil behavior can have on a group of school boys without the guidance of "grown ups." Despite Piggy's and Ralph's best efforts, they are no match for the self-absorbed and self-important Jack who, through manipulation and fear, convinces other boys to join him and have some "fun."

Initially, the reader sees Jack as the epitome of schoolboy correctness. His parents would be proud of their son who is "chapter chorister and head boy." Jack's ability to rally the choir boys and have them marching in an orderly manner, despite the confusion, and to respond to the call of the conch, reveal his leadership skills and, according to Piggy, Jack's "uniformed superiority." Jack's disappointment that it is not a ship which has come to rescue them and his disbelief when he is not voted as chief are appeased when Ralph suggests that Jack should lead his choir, which Jack immediately labels the "hunters." 

At first Jack agrees that there have to be rules because "we're not savages. We're English..." but as time goes by, Jack struggles to fit in with Ralph's leadership methods. He would much rather make demands, hunt and dismiss the "littluns," because there is "no beast in the forest." Piggy does point out that "If Jack was chief he'd have all hunting and no fire. We'd be here till we died."

Talk of the beast constantly divides the boys who do not know what to believe. When Ralph and Jack apparently see the beast, the dynamic of the group changes. Jack attempts to belittle Ralph and claims that Ralph should never have been voted as chief. This is an opportunity for Jack to separate himself from the group with some boys going after him and Jack establishes himself as chief of this small group of boys. He kills a pig and is excited to invite the other boys to a feast because they will see what Jack has achieved and what he can offer them.

Taking Ralph and Piggy by surprise, Jack charges towards them all, suggesting that he may let the other boys join his "tribe," where they "hunt and feast and have fun." His "mask of paint" makes him think he is almost invincible and he knows the boys will be tempted by talk of meat when everyone is so bored of fruit. He is right. The boys go and even Piggy suggests that he and Ralph go along. Jack's obvious command of the situation allows him to continue and he promises to protect the boys from the beast as well, even discounting the importance of the conch which "doesn't count at this end of the island..." When a storm threatens his party, Jack again regains control of the situation by encouraging the boys to "dance." In what Piggy and Ralph view as "this demented but partly secure society," there is safety in numbers if nothing else and disaster looms, especially for Simon whose tragic death is the result of Jack's uncontrolled, extreme and frenzied method of gaining control. 

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