In Lord of the Flies, what are Jack's most important actions and reactions?

Expert Answers

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

One of Jack's most significant actions toward the beginning of the novel is his insistence on being in charge of the hunters. He decides to volunteer to maintain the signal fire on the top of the mountain.

Another important action that Jack takes is painting his face. The act of face painting is symbolic for the hunters, as it allows them to liberate themselves and rapidly descend into savagery.

Jack's decision to call his hunters away from the signal fire and to his successful hunt is a major turning point in the novel. The boys not only miss a rare opportunity to be rescued by Jack, they also develop a bloodlust for hunting pigs.

In chapter 8, Jack attempts to usurp power by publicly criticizing Ralph's leadership, and he holds a vote to remove Ralph from power. When Jack receives no votes, he quits Ralph's tribe and establishes his own tribe of savages at the opposite end of the island.

Jack leading the boys in their ritual chant during the storm in chapter 9 is also a significant action: it results in Simon's brutal death on the beach.

Jack's decision to raid Ralph's camp in order to steal Piggy's glasses is also an important action, which leads to a showdown between Ralph and Jack in the next chapter. After Ralph confronts him, Jack not only demands that his hunters tie up Samneric, but he also throws his spear at Ralph after Roger brutally murders Piggy.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

I would say that the first of Jack's important actions is his attempt to be the chief of the boys.  Ralph and Jack are put up for election, and Jack loses.  He's not happy about it, but Jack is placated with being put in charge of the group's hunting efforts.  

A second important event is Jack failing to kill the first pig that he comes across.  He raises his knife to kill it, but he can't go through with it.  The result is that he vows to not show any mercy next time. 

Jack is so obsessed with hunting and killing a pig that he and his boys forget to tend the signal fire.  The result is that a ship passed the island and never noticed the boys. 

Jack slowly takes control of the group and steals Piggy's glasses.  Now Jack has all of the control.  

Jack attempts to hunt and kill Ralph.  To do this, Jack starts a big fire to smoke Ralph out.  A passing Navy ship sees the fire and rescues the remaining boys.  

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial