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

Lord of the Flies

by William Golding

Start Free Trial

What is the importance of Jack Merridew in the novel?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Perhaps a look at the book "The Coral Island" gives us some idea of what it is that Jack was so necessary in Golding's response to that book.  In "The Coral Island," the English boys are the civilized people in the midst of all kinds of savagery, of polynesians who practice infanticide and cannibalism to pirates who kill their own, etc.

Golding felt very strongly that the boys themselves were just as beastly or savage as anyone else and uses Jack to demonstrate this.  As the previous post says, Jack was a leader back in the "civilized world," and he uses much of what he learned as a leader there to effectively pull the boys away from the civilized leader, Ralph, and into his own tribe of hunters and killers and savages.

So Jack was a necessary element to show that "civilized" boys are no different in terms of their baser instincts than anyone else.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team