What Are The Purpose And Effect Of Jacks Generosity

What is the purpose and effect of Jack's generosity with the meat he and the hunters obtained in chapter 9 of Lord of the Flies?

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Jack’s generosity with the meat is a symbol of his power.

As a hunter, Jack has the power he always wanted.  When the boys first found each other on the island, they elected Ralph as their leader.  They chose him as the leader because he is the one who first blew the conch.  But Jack is the one who had the actual leadership skills, because he was the choirmaster.  Jack is the one who should have been chosen.  When Ralph is chosen, it is somewhat of a gift.

None of the boys could have found good reason for this; what intelligence had been shown was traceable to Piggy while the most obvious leader was Jack. (Ch. 1)

Due to Jack’s prowess as a leader, he was appointed leader of the hunters by Ralph.  Unfortunately, this was a bad move on Ralph’s part.  The hunters already were loyal to Jack.  It basically ensured that the boys would be divided.  While Ralph struggled to maintain control over the boys and provide a civilized environment, Jack chose hunting as his contribution.  Hunting was fun, and gave Jack an outlet for his savagery.  It also made him attractive to the other boys.  When the boys had nothing but fruit to eat, Jack had meat.

In Chapter 9, Jack is described like a king on a throne.  He has everything, while Ralph, Piggy, and Simon are left with the dregs.  While Jack’s boys eat their fill, Ralph and Piggy can do nothing but salivate.  Thus when Jack offers them meat, he is doing so as a king to his subjects, not as a friend to equals.

“I gave you food,” said Jack, “and my hunters will protect you from the beast. Who will join my tribe?” (Ch. 9)

Ralph makes a timid attempt to point out that he is in charge, but Jack sneers at him.  He points out that Ralph ran, and that Jack has meat and he doesn’t.  When Ralph says that he is the one that appointed Jack a hunter, Jack ignores him.  He tells him the conch doesn’t count on this part of the island, and asks again who will join his tribe.  He does his best to humiliate and belittle Ralph, making it clear that he alone is important now, and that he has won.  They might have voted Ralph into power, but the power now is Jack’s.

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