How does the characterization in Lord of the Flies represent a clash of political ideologies?

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Kristen Lentz | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Although political ideologies are not the central focus of Lord of the Flies, certain scenes within the novel certainly carry a strong political resonance. 

Democracy

At the very beginning of the story, the boys elect Ralph to be their chief.  The narrator observes that "this toy of voting was almost as pleasing as the conch" (23). The boys vote between Ralph and Jack by raising their hands. Later Ralph also introduces the idea of letting everybody have a chance to speak via the conch. 

Tyranny/Dictatorship

Jack, on the other hand, represents the opposite of democracy. When Ralph asserts the authority of the conch in allowing every boy to have a voice, Jack argues the opposite:

"'Conch! Conch!' shouted Jack. 'We don't need the conch anymore.  We know who ought to say things.[...] It's time some people knew they've got to keep quiet and leave deciding things to the rest of us" (102). 

When Jack says "leave deciding things to the rest of us," he really means that his opinion matters most. Later, when Jack forms his own tribe and declares himself chief, he establishes a dictatorship ruled through fear and intimidation, punishing Wilfred on an angry whim and asserting his authority over the twins through torture. His approach to leadership most closely resembles a totalitarian regime. 

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