Lord of the Flies Questions and Answers
by William Golding

Lord of the Flies book cover
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What method does William Golding use to characterize Jack in Lord of the Flies?

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Lori Steinbach eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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This is an interesting question because it asks how the author accomplishes characterization rather than just asking who Jack is. I like it. In Lord of the Flies, William Golding reveals Jack's character through both direct and indirect characterization.

Direct characterization is what Golding tells us directly about Jack. For example, Golding tells us Jack has red hair and is wearing an elaborate choir robe when we first meet him. Most physical description an author uses is considered direct characterization, but it can also include statements about Jack's character.

In this novel, Golding relies more heavily on indirect characterization to reveal Jack's character. Indirect characterization uses the character's own actions and words and their effects on others to reveal character. Readers have to take what they hear Jack say and do, along with how other characters react to him, and make their own judgments about him.

For example, when we first meet Jack, he says:

“I ought to be chief,” said Jack...

(The entire section contains 583 words.)

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