Two separate illustrations of an animal head and a fire on a mountain

Lord of the Flies

by William Golding
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What is an example of Jack's abuse of power, and what words are used to emphasize the hunters' sociological status in Lord of the Flies?

An example of Jack's abuse of power in Lord of the Flies is tying up and beating Wilfred. Words used to emphasize the sociological status of the hunters as a breakaway group from Ralph include Jack speaking of "my end" and "my tribe."

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Though Ralph and Jack both jockey for the position of leader of the boys on the island, Jack's desire for power is darker and reveals a malignant narcissism. He seeks control through capitalizing on fear and builds a following by appealing to the most base instincts in other boys.

In chapter 4, after Jack has led the first successful boar hunt, he "[sticks] his fist into Piggy's stomach" and breaks Piggy's glasses after Piggy protests that Jack had let the signal fire go out just as a ship passed the island. Jack also tries to deny Piggy any of the boar meat. Resorting to violence and overt cruelty when he is criticized for his failure in leadership marks Jack as an abusive leader.

In chapter 5, Jack proclaims, "Bollocks to the rules! We're strong—we hunt!" when Ralph reminds Jack that the group has agreed to norms such as the use of the conch in meetings. By chapter 8, Jack draws a distinction between Ralph and the more democratically minded boys and himself and his followers. He says of Ralph, "He's not a hunter. He'd never of got us meat," and when the majority of boys reiterate their support of Ralph, he says "I'm not going to be a part of Ralph's lot."

In chapter 9, Jack asks the assembled boys "Who'll join my tribe?" Jack has indulged the boys' appetite for barbarism and meat-eating and has gained a following of the less thoughtful by encouraging their atavism and physicality. The schism that develops between the followers of Ralph and the followers of Jack could be seen in Freudian terms as the separation of the ego and the id, respectively.

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There are many examples of Jack's abuse of power after he breaks away from Ralph to form his own society. He reigns through terror of the younger boys, a group he bullies. For example, he ties up Wilfred, a smaller boy, and beats him. Jack's audacious willingness to give into his basest instincts helps cement his followers behind him.

When Ralph, Piggy, and Samneric approach Jack, Jack tries to use his superior might to "win" the encounter. For example, he abuses the peaceful intent of Ralph's group's visit by making

a rush and [stabbing] at Ralph's chest with his spear.

He also has Samneric taken prisoner and tied up:

the twins were a loud and writhing heap.

Sociology is the study of the development and organization of societies. In the novel, Jack, who is power-hungry, breaks away from the leadership of Ralph to form his own group. Because Ralph and Piggy represent civilization, rationality, and fairness, Jack has to offer something more enticing, which he does by creating a social order where the boys have a seemingly all-powerful leader who encourages them to act on their darkest desires. He creates what is known in sociology as "anomie," a situation in which a society breaks into following two or more contradictory sets of rules or realities.

Jack shows that he understands of the sociology of his breakaway group when he uses words like "your end" and "my end" and "my tribe" to express the division of the small group of stranded boys into two separate sects functioning without shared values.

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In chapter 10, Jack has set himself up as chief over his own tribe, which consists of all the biguns except Ralph, Samneric, and Piggy. Jack abuses his new-found power by using violence against members of his own tribe and against Ralph's group, using fear and deception to keep control of the boys, and stealing the property of others. Because Jack was angry at Wilfred for an unspecified offense, he tied the boy up and kept him tied for hours, then beat him. When Jack determines they need a way to start their own fires, he plans a midnight raid on Ralph's camp. During that raid, Jack, Roger, and Maurice use violence--"hitting, biting, scratching." Jack deliberately and deceitfully instills fear in his own boys as a way of binding them to the group and to him. He tells them that Ralph's group will "try to spoil things we do," which is a lie. He then warns them of how "the beast might try to come in," reminding them of their struggle against the "beast" (really Simon) at the beach. When one of the other boys questions whether they killed the beast, Jack lies and says no, then says they must leave pigs' heads for it to "keep on the right side of him." This is all deception on Jack's part, designed to make the boys afraid and to bind them together against common enemies. Finally, in a horrendous abuse of power, Jack steals Piggy's glasses, a crime that violates not only Piggy's property rights but also his human rights, since without the glasses his life is severely impaired. 

Words that show the sociological status of Jack's group are "tribe," "Chief," "defenders of the gate" or "watchers at the gate," "hunters," and "others." Jack makes sure the others address him as "Chief," showing his superior authority. Members of his tribe are identified by their function, and those outside the tribe are called simple "the others." However, Golding refers to all the boys of Jack's tribe simply as "savages." 

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In Chapter 10 of Lord of the Flies, Jack has taken all but three of the biguns and Ralph into his group of hunters.  Jack has total control over the boys, and abuses this power by beating the boys for infractions.  In this chapter, Jack has had Wilfred hog-tied, awaiting his beating.  Robert tells Roger that Wilfred has been tied up all day.  The boys do not question Jack's decision, and Jack uses the boys' fear against them.  By this time, the boys are simply referred to as savages and Jack as the chief by the narrator:  "A savage raised his hand and the chief turned a bleak, painted face toward him."  These words suggest that the boys have lost their identities and that they are now identified by the hierarchical roles that they play in the hunting group.

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