What are some quotes from Lord of the Flies that show power and leadership?  

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

1. At the beginning of chapter 5, Ralph demonstrates his leadership skills by holding an assembly to address the fact that necessary tasks are not being completed. Ralph reveals his authority and power by telling the group,

We need an assembly. Not for fun. Not for laughing and falling off the log...not for making jokes, or for...for cleverness. Not for these things. But to put things straight...I've been alone. By myself I went, thinking what's what. I know what we need. An assembly to put things straight. And first of all, I'm speaking.(Golding 60)

Ralph's opening statements are clear, direct, and effectively convey his purpose for holding the assembly. Unfortunately, Jack interrupts the assembly and the hunters leave the meeting without being excused.

2. In chapter 9, Jack holds a feast and Ralph, Piggy, and Samneric are in attendance. Jack reveals his leadership and power by telling the boys,

I gave you food...and my hunters will protect you from the beast. Who will join my tribe?(Golding 116)

Jack believes that his ability to provide food for the boys and protect them from the beast are the most important qualities of an effective chief.

3. In chapter 10, Jack demonstrates his ability to manipulate his group of hunters into following his every directive. Despite the fact that they brutally murdered Simon, who they mistook for the beast, Jack maintains that the beast is still alive. He understands how to manipulate the boys' fears and tells them to leave the severed pigs head for the beast. The fact that Jack's hunters follow his every command reveals his leadership skills and influence. Jack tells his tribe,

So leave the mountain alone...and give it the head if you go hunting...I expect the beast disguised itself. Perhaps...We'd better keep on the right side of him, anyhow. You can't tell what he might do...But tomorrow we'll hunt and when we've got meat we'll have a feast. (Golding 125)

sciftw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Your best bet for finding quotes about power and leadership is to focus on the characters of Ralph and Jack.  Right from the very beginning of the story both boys seek to be nominated chief.  Ralph is voted chief, but Jack works to undermine Ralph's power and authority by selling the kids the idea that a dictator is a much better form of leadership.  The following quote illustrates the early desire of the boys to have a leadership structure in place.  

"Shut up," said Ralph absently. He lifted the conch. "Seems to me we ought to have a chief to decide things."

"A chief! A chief!"

"I ought to be chief," said Jack with simple arrogance, "because I'm chapter chorister and head boy. I can sing C sharp."

Ralph begins his job as chief in a positive way, because he exercises his power while at the same time taking into account the needs of those that he is in power over.  He delegates jobs to other boys and even gives Jack a leadership role of his own.  Jack gets to lead the hunters.  

The suffusion drained away from Jack's face. Ralph waved again for silence.

"Jack's in charge of the choir. They can be—what do you want them be?"


Jack and Ralph smiled at each other with shy liking. The rest began to talk eagerly.

Of course Jack is only appeased for so long.  By chapter five Jack is demanding that power be given to him.  He believes that he can lead better, because he is willing to step up and take power over Ralph.  

Jack's face swam near him.

"And you shut up! Who are you, anyway? Sitting there telling people what to do. You can't hunt, you can't sing—"

"I'm chief. I was chosen."

"Why should choosing make any difference? Just giving orders that don't make any sense—"

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Lord of the Flies

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