Jack: Almost the Hero of Lord of the Flies

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Jack: Almost the Hero of Lord of the FliesJack Merridew is the devil-like figure in the story, Lord of the Flies. Jack is wicked in nature having no feelings for any living creature. His appearance and behavior intimidates the others from their first encounter. The leading savage, Jack leans more towards hunting and killing and is the main reason behind the splitting of the boys. It has been said that Jack represents the evilness of human nature; but in the end, Jack is almost a hero. With his totalitarian leadership, he was able to organize the group of boys into a useful and productive society

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From the beginning of the novel Jack intimidates the other boys with his flaming red hair, his long black cape, and the brutal way he shouts orders to his choir. Although he is not a good-looking boy, he is amazingly arrogant. He always has to look good in people’s eyes. Not that he cares if people like him, but more that they respect him. The only way he knows how to gain people’s admiration is by getting them to fear him. He spots Piggy as an easy target and immediately starts to humiliate him in front of the others: “You’re talking too much,” said Jack Merridew. “Shut up, Fatty.”(21) He sizes up Piggy right from the beginning knowing that Piggy wouldn’t stand up to him and by making fun of him he was letting the other boys know that he not one to be messed with. When he feels that people are about to think him to be weak or gutless, he uses his knife as if it were a symbol of his superiority: “Jack slammed his knife into a trunk and looked round challengingly”(33). His knife gives him power, a weapon that he would use against anyone who dares to mock him.

He shows early on how he has no sympathy for anyone. For example, when Simon passed out from heat exhaustion on the beach Jack showed no compassion: “Let him alone.He’s always throwing a faint.”(20) Simon was not a stranger, he was a boy that Jack has spent a great deal of time with and yet he displays no feelings for him at all. He demonstrates a great deal of power over his choir. He orders them around as if they were puppets that he controls by working their strings and making them dance at will.


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