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

Lord of the Flies

by William Golding

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In Lord of the Flies, on which page does Jack claim, "I ought to be chief"?

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In Lord of the Flies, Jack asserts his claim, "I ought to be chief," on page 28. This claim is humorous due to Jack's reasoning, highlighting his arrogance and self-confidence. His leadership qualifications, such as being "head boy" and his ability to sing C sharp, are seen as both relevant and irrelevant. While Jack's leadership style is controversial, his charisma and understanding of power dynamics are noted.

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

The above quote is found on page 28 of my edition. Different editions might have the quote on a slightly different page.

I love the above quote. It makes me laugh every time that I read it. Jack is brimming with confidence about his ability to lead the group and be chief. As the story eventually shows, Jack is a natural born leader. Readers might disagree with how he takes power, keeps power, and uses his power, but readers have to admit that many of the other boys defer to his power and leadership.

The reason that the quote makes me laugh is because of how Jack supports his nomination to be considered for chief. He claims that he has previous leadership experience by being "head boy." Previous leadership experience is a good qualifier. Jack's next reason is hilarious to me. "I can sing C sharp." How exactly that qualifies him to be a good leader is beyond me. That's like me saying that I ought to be a school principal because I can kick a soccer ball very accurately. Regardless of how ridiculous I think the reason is, the boys on the island don't think it is irrelevant. Perhaps because Jack is one of the few boys that can sing that note, he has more confidence in himself than other boys have in themselves. He exudes that self-confidence, and the boys naturally gravitate toward it.

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It is also on page 28 in both my print edition and the online text. I highly recommend checking your edition and the online text, to see if they match up. 

It is interesting to me the way that Jack is so confident that he ought to be the leader. It is particularly interesting because Golding points out that he is arguably correct. There is something about Ralph that makes the boys feel more comfortable choosing him despite the more obvious choice being Jack.

Jack eventually goes on to demonstrate that he has a clearer understanding of how to gain power over the boys because he is the one that sees how he can use their fear to bring them to his side.

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Page 28 of my edition, about halfway through Chapter 1. Here's the paragraph:

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

Hope it helps!

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