From Lord of the Flies, identify quotes that support the theme of "commitment."

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The theme of commitment can be seen in the constructions of power that Ralph and Jack represent.  This theme can be seen in both characters because both of them cling to the idea of leadership.  To be viewed as leader of the boys is extremely important to both, something to which both are committed.  Ralph embodies a traditional construction of leadership.  When he voices commitment regarding leadership, Ralph emphasizes a civilized and structured approach to being a leader.  For Ralph, the focal point of his leadership is to continue the signal and strive for rescue: "If we have a signal going, they'll come and take us off.  And another thing. We ought to have more rules.  Where the conch is, that's a meeting. The same up here as down here."  In this quote, Ralph's words embody theme of commitment. Ralph is committed to a method of leadership.  It is rooted in parliamentary procedure and the tenets of focused and progressive understanding.  The idea of transferring modern day political values to the situation on the island underscores Ralph's commitment.  As the narrative continues, Ralph shows his commitment to leadership in terms of recognizing the responsibilities that come with leadership:  "I'm chief," said Ralph, "because you chose me.  And we were going to keep the fire going.  Now you run after food..."  Ralph is committed to the "right way" to lead and to ensuring that there is civilized law and order in the delegation of responsibilities. At the same time, Ralph is committed to leadership and embodies the idea that a leader sometimes has to sacrifice for his people: "His mouth was tight and pale. He put back his hair very slowly.....He forced his feet to move until they carried him out on to the neck of the land."  Even when he is legitimately scared of the beast and what lies ahead, Ralph is committed to the role of leadership and all that it entails.

As Ralph's power begins to wane and Jack's rises, Jack understands the power vacuum that emerges.  In this condition, he becomes committed to the idea of leadership.  When the perception of power moves to Jack's camp, he displays a level of commitment towards established power over the boys on the island: “I gave you food,” said Jack, “and my hunters will protect you from the beast. Who will join my tribe?”  Ralph sees power as complex, needing to be broken down into different components and elements through delegation and shared responsibility.  Jack sees power as something one must take.  It is direct and requires full commitment in wrangling the loyalties of the other boys on the island.  As a result, both Jack and Ralph are committed to power, even though it looks different to each of them.

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