Human natureIs jack morally bad or did the environment surrounding him turned him bad????

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booboosmoosh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

My opinion is that there is something within Jack that enables him, in the right circumstances, to put civility and civilized behavior behind him to become a master of "manipulation and intimidation." Because he first cannot bring himself to kill the pig trapped in the vines, this appears to be his upbringing asserting itself. However, on the island that has no adult supervision and no rules, the basest of animal instincts have no form of "authority" to keep them at bay. Like all human beings raised in civilization, a person has the ability to be civilized or a monster. Some people follow the guidelines of acceptable behavior. Some do not. Without restrictions, Jack gives in to a savagery common to animals, not humans.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that the point of the book is that we all have the capacity for immorality inside us and that only civilization holds us back from that capacity.

In the specific case of Jack, I think he has a medium amount of evil within him.  He's not as good as Ralph, for instance, because he can't hold out against the evil inside as long as Ralph does.  But he's not as bad as Roger who starts doing bad stuff at around the same time as Jack and does things that are worse than what Jack does.

So I do think that Jack is morally bad, but I think that A) he's not the worst and B) we all have that evil inside.

enotechris eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Despite any of the boys' moral makeup and the influence of the island environment, they all had choices regarding how to comport themselves.  They chose the bestial path, and suffered the consequences. I thought often that the novel was an allegorical microcosm of Cold War politics at that time -- that leaders had the choice to react to bestial instincts and destroy the whole of humanity with them through nuclear war, or to do the hard work of maintaining peace and prosperity.


readerofbooks eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the novel it is pretty clear that Jack is the polar opposite of Ralph. Also when he lost the vote to Ralph he was angry. He wanted power right from the beginning. Also his obsession with the hunt say something as well about his character. In addition, when we consider how he turned the other boy on those who would not agree shows that his disposition is morally compromised. In light of all this, all the boys are morally compromised, but Jack is the worst.

stolperia eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Jack had elements of positive moral character and leadership within his makeup, as reflected by his abilities to keep the choir in order as a separate group at first. However, he also had animal instincts that led to the hunting and killing and demeaning of those who didn't agree with his ideas - these facets of his personality came out as time went by and conditions didn't support the continuation of more civilized methods of acting and doing things.

accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think we need to see Golding's novel as having a more universal message than merely restricting what it says to Jack. Let us remember that even Ralph feels savage stirrings within him when he gets caught up in the excitement of the hunt that indicates he has just as much capacity for evil within him as Jack does. Golding's message concerns all humanity: there is a thin veneer of civilisation that when scratched away reveals our true evil selves.

vangoghfan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Golding's book has often been attacked, and attempts have even been made to ban it, because it depicts human nature in too gloomy a light. Some critics of the book argue that it shows a dark side of human nature, although this darkness is assumed by traditional religious notions of the fall of man and of original sin. In other words, Golding is presenting no radically untraditional view of human nature.

literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I have to agree that within all people, characters included, a small amount of evil lives within. What people do about this evil is what makes them truly good or bad. Under certain circumstances, some people may choose to make decisions that they would normally make.

As for Jack, I think it was a little about his inner evil and a little about the environment.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
I think in Jack's case, it was a combination of predisposition and environment.  It seems clear to me that Jack was power hungry before they landed on the island, or at least craved order.  Yet the chaos of the island was too much for him, and he gave in and forgot his inhibitions.
wanderista | Student

I like this discussion! I think the environment did play a rather large part in Jack's transformation, and this is proved by the final chapter, where all the boys changed almost instantly when help arrived and they were rescued from the island. But I think a lot of it is about Jack's personality and demeanour, his lust for dictatorship. I also think there is an element of a wild beast in him, a metaphor illustrated through out the novel. These elements all explain why Jack changed from an innocent boy to a potential dictator.

lacinserraates | Student
Human nature

Is jack morally bad or did the environment surrounding him turned him bad????

In my opinion, Jack was hiding his emotions and thoughts when he was in England because there were strict rules that he had to obey. However, when he accidentally found himself in an island, he thought that he didn't have to hide them any more. Moreover, there are some causes that made Jack a barbarian. One of them is not been selected for the leadership. He was so ambitious about giving order to people and he is a kind of dictator. When Ralph was choosen he started to hold a grudge. This may be the most important reason.

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Lord of the Flies

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