In Lord of the Flies, how does Jack use the beast to control the other boys?

In Lord of the Flies, Jack uses the beast to unify the boys over a common fear. Once the boys are sufficiently afraid of the beast, Jack presents himself as a strong leader who can protect the boys from the threat. As the boys give in to more primal instincts, Jack solidifies his power by projecting himself as a hunter with authoritative knowledge about the beast the boys fear.

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It is never certain whether Jack truly believes in the phantom menace of the beast himself, but he recognizes the power to be wielded in stoking the younger boys' imaginations about the beast's potential threat. The reported sightings and spreading conviction among the boys of the monster's reality gives Jack an angle to weaponize against Ralph, whose leadership and natural popularity threaten Jack's own sense of status and strength. The spectral beastie, then, provides the entitled and vindictive chief chorister Jack a perfect opportunity to generate a fearful climate that he can then exploit to justify his claims to leadership. Jack uses the youngsters' terror and vulnerability to fashion the beast as a kind of malevolent "other" whose existence is an imminent threat to the group's survival.

Despite the bloodthirstiness that quickly emerges from Jack and his splinter faction, Golding emphasizes the fact of Jack's childishness in his hurt and petulant response to Ralph being chosen as leader. Jack channels his spite and anger into drumming up a fervor about being proactive in protecting themselves from the beast's inevitable rampage and redeems his pride and potency by dismissing Ralph as unsuitable to the violent duty at hand.

Jack exhibits a prodigious intuition about the unifying power of fear-mongering and an us/them mentality, and he is able to maintain his honor and privilege after his embarrassment before the others. The coup Jack leads with his choir against the boys' democratically-chosen leader, Ralph, is legitimized by Jack's ability to rally many of the boys behind his claims that only the hunters can protect the group and that only he has the merit to lead them.

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Jack uses the beast to create an atmosphere of hysteria and manipulate the boys' fears in order to control them. Jack portrays himself as the ultimate hunter and fearless leader of his tribe. As the most successful hunter of the group, Jack plays the role of protector and guardian. Although Ralph is still the elected chief, Jack uses the beast to bolster his popularity and elevate his status among the group.

The majority of the boys believe that Jack can protect them from the beast and willingly follow his lead. Ralph cannot compete with Jack's role as guardian and provider, which allows Jack to easily usurp power. Many of the boys leave Ralph's group to join Jack's tribe of savages at the opposite end of the island, where chaos reigns supreme.

Jack does not deny the beast's existence, because he understands how fear affects the boys. He brilliantly contributes to the hysteria surrounding the beast by leaving a severed pig's head behind as an offering and leading an expedition in search of the mysterious creature. The boys subscribe to his theory regarding the beast and obediently follow his directives without question.

After the boys brutally murder Simon, Jack tells his hunters that the beast is still alive and says that the creature disguised itself on the beach. Jack then comments,

He [the beast] may come again even though we gave him the head of our kill to eat. So watch; and be careful...I expect the beast disguised itself...We'd better keep on the right side of him, anyhow. You can’t tell what he might do.

Jack knowingly uses the beast as a scare tactic to arouse fear amongst the group. The hysterical boys do not think rationally, allowing Jack to control them and make every decision. Essentially, Jack coerces the boys into following his directives by creating a hysterical environment and portraying himself as their only protector.

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Jack uses the other boys' fear of the beast to bolster his own importance in the tribe:

"'Quiet!' shouted Jack. 'You, listen.  The beast is sitting up  there, whatever it is--' [...] 'Hunting,' said Jack.  He remembered his age-old tremors in the forest.  'Yes, the beast is a hunter'" (126).

In chapter eight, "Gift for the Darkness," the hunters and Ralph have returned from their search for the beast, and they have seen its billowing shape on the mountainside.  Jack uses the moment to play on their fears, pointing out Ralph's cowardice and lack of hunting ability as reasons why the other boys should choose him as chief over Ralph.  For Jack, the beast is an opportunity to make himself appear stronger and braver than Ralph; he uses the polarizing topic of the beast to draw attention to himself, capitalizing on the boys' fear of the unknown and dark jungle paths. 


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Jack created the idea of a mysterious beast that no one has seen in order to make the members of his gang fearful. By instilling fear, Jack tries to make himself out to be a better leader than Ralph by offering his gang protection from the beast. By constantly alluding to the beast and reminding the boys of the existence of a beast, Jack can control them in two ways.  One, he can control where they go (and don't go) and he can make sure that they stay true to him for protection instead of defecting to Ralph's team.

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Jack uses the beast in the same manner that real propagandists from history and today use scare tactics.  The beast represents a threat to the other boys and strikes fear in them.  Just like all scare tactics, it is not important rather a threat truly exists, it is significant for leaders to convince their audience simply that they need to feel fear.  This accomplishes two important goals of leaders like Jack.  First, Jack needs the other boys to believe him; so he creates the idea of the beast and provides just enough evidence of its existence in order for the boys to follow him blindly.  They rely upon him for information about the beast, and in doing so, they start to believe everything he says.  Secondly, because Jack seems to be the "go-to-man" when it comes to the beast, the boys view him as the solution to the problem.  This is the same tactic that Hitler and his propaganda machine used.  They convinced the German people that their economic crisis was caused by the Jews ("the beast" according to Hitler) and then convinced Germans that they alone could provide the only solution to this "dangerous, malevolent" threat.

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