In "Lord of the Flies", how does Jack feel about the rules the boys create? What is their plan to get rescued?

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caledon eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Jack supposedly supports the rules at first; when the boys first suggest having rules, such as the conch giving its holder the sole privilege to speak, Jack responds enthusiastically, saying they'll have "lots and lots of rules", and gleefully promising punishment to anyone who breaks them. This is a foreshadowing of his future rule by force. Later, when we look back on Jack's behavior at this point in the development of the tribe and its social relationships, it seems like Jack's true interest in having "lots and lots" of rules, was to provide more opportunities for people to break them, and therefore to be punished.

Jack, ironically, is the first and most frequent breaker of the rules, particularly the rule of the conch, and he often invents exceptions to the rules that benefit him, such as claiming the conch doesn't apply on the mountain. It only takes a few chapters before Jack completely reverses his position;

“The rules!” shouted Ralph. “You’re breaking the rules!”

“Who cares?”

Ralph summoned his wits. “Because the rules are the only thing we’ve got!”

But Jack was shouting against him. “Bollocks to the rules!"

So, regardless of his early enthusiasm, Jack doesn't really invest any meaning in the rules, particularly if they get in his way. An important aspect of the rules that prevented Jack from respecting them was the fact that he was never actually punished for breaking them.

The rescue plan, established by Ralph during the boys' first assembly in Chapter 2, is to make themselves more obvious to any passing ships by starting a fire on the mountain, so the smoke will be more visible, and signal to anyone who can see it that there are people on the island. 


gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Initially, Jack is in favor of the rules, and when Ralph elaborates on how they will use the conch to take turns speaking, Jack says,

We'll have rules!...Lots of rules! Then when anyone breaks 'em (Golding, 25).

Despite Jack's initial enthusiasm, it is implied that he is more interested in punishing individuals who break the rules than he is in following them. As the novel progresses, Jack gradually begins to break the rules by continually interrupting boys that are speaking while holding the conch. Jack then encourages Samneric to leave the signal fire so they can hunt and continually neglects the duties agreed upon during the assemblies. At the end of chapter 5, Jack begins to argue with Ralph regarding the rules, and Jack says,

Bollocks to the rules! (Golding, 70).

Towards the end of the novel, Jack becomes a complete savage and starts his own tribe at the far end of the island. Jack emphatically tells Ralph that the conch does not count at his end of the island, which demonstrates his lack of civility and respect for rules in general.

Initially, Ralph's plan to get rescued is to create and maintain a signal fire on the top of the mountain for passing ships to see. Unfortunately, the boys begin to descend into savagery and neglect the signal fire. After the signal fire goes out, the boys fear that the beast inhabits the top of the mountain and they are forced to make a signal fire on the lower platform, which eventually also goes out.

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Lord of the Flies

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