How does Ralph and Jack's leadership compare in "Lord of the Flies"?

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pmiranda2857 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Jack has the advantage of being tall; his direction of the choir is another sign of an "obvious leader." As a political animal, however, Jack recognizes that choir conducting won't get him far on a deserted island. His decision to turn the choir into a group of hunters with himself as leader shows that he can be a wily strategist. In other ways, however, Jack is careless and destructive, as when he accidentally steps on Piggy's glasses and breaks a lens.

 Nevertheless, Jack is successful in daring Ralph to come with him to hunt the mysterious beast when darkness is falling. On that hunt Jack and Ralph, joined by Roger, perceive through the falling darkness the dim, shrouded figure of the dead parachutist—an image of the adult world that suggests the destruction of the rational society envisioned by Ralph and Piggy.

As Ralph has a "directness" in his manner that the narrator calls a sign of "genuine leadership." As E. M. Forster describes Ralph in an introduction to one of the novel's editions, he is "sunny and decent, sensible and considerate."  Jack's savage society becomes more distinct and powerful. Jack separates his group from Ralph's when the group fails to dethrone Ralph and recognize Jack as leader. Then Jack sets about wooing away the other boys to his group.

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Lord of the Flies

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