What events does each boy, Jack and Ralph, have firsthand knowledge of in Lord of the Flies?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

    In Lord of the Flies Ralph and Jack are both aware that there is power in firsthand knowledge. In fact, it is their individual firsthand knowledge which empowers them as leaders.

  • Ralph 

Ralph obtains firsthand knowledge of the use of the conch, he knows of the necessity of the rescue fire and the need for shelters. From having a military father, he also is aware of the need for someone to be in charge of a group.

  • Jack Merriew   

Jack has firsthand knowledge of the power of aggressive action, and he knows how to command obedience. When he first marches in with the choir where Piggy and Ralph stand, he shouts, "Choir! Stand still!"

Piggy asked no names. He was intimidated by this uniformed superiority and the offhand authority in Merridew's voice.

While Ralph knows the importance of the signal fire, Jack has firsthand knowledge of how to start a fire as he grabs Piggy's glasses and uses the lenses to focus the sunlight upon the brush and leaves so that they will ignite.

Jack also knows that painting his face disguises him as a human, and the pigs do not see him or run from him as quickly, thus the boys are able to kill one. Later, Jack uses his knowledge of the power of aggressive action to get the boys to join in the hunt, as well as the ritualistic, savage dance around the victim. 

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Lord of the Flies

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