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Good vs. Evil

In Lord of the Flies, by William Golding, a group of young boys are stranded on an island without adult supervision. The older boys attempt to help the younger kids survive. Ralph, a strong, attractive, natural leader, and Jack, a jealous person, play key roles as different leaders. At the beginning of the novel, they are innocent twelve year olds stranded on a island, trying their best to keep things organized; however, after spending weeks stranded , Jack transforms and does things that he normally would not do. People are inherently good, but when exposed to stress and chaos they transform and make evil decisions.

At the beginning of novel, Jack, the leader of the hunters, is incapable of killing a living being. When Jack and his group of hunters are out scavenging for food they find a pig caught in a creeper and are about to have Jack kill it, but he cannot. When confronted, “‘Why didn’t you-?’…They knew very well why he hadn’t: because of the enormity of the knife descending and cutting into living flesh; because of the unbearable blood” (31). Even though Jack knows the boys need food, he is incapable of stabbing the pig. Butchering a creature is evil. In his mind, to kill is evil and he is inherently good. Jack initially does not have the courage to kill a pig, but as the boys spend more time on the island his thoughts on killing a living creature transforms.

Consequently, Jack’s violent behavior escalates and he is finally able to kill the pig. Once Jack and his hunters successfully and brutally kill the pig for the first time, he celebrates: “I cut the pig’s throat,” said Jack, proudly… ‘There was lashings of blood’ said Jack, laughing and shuttering, ‘you should have seen it” (69). Jack does not humanely kill the animal. He brutally slashes him and is proud of his accomplishment. His behavior is becoming sadistic. He does not show emotion like a typical person would show after participating in a ruthless death.

As time passes, Jack becomes more power hungry and cruel towards the others. Jack’s group takes Piggy’s spectacles without his permission to make a fire. When Ralph and Piggy try to retrieve his spectacles, the two groups argue. Jack refuses and attempts to grab the twins Sam and Eric: “Grab them!.... I said grab them!... Tie them up! (178-179). Jack’s behavior is becoming increasingly more forceful. In addition, Jack makes all of the boys tie Wilfred up: “‘He’s going to beat Wilfred…’…The newly beaten and untied Wilfred was sniffing in the background” (160). Jack is brutally aggressive and brainwashes the boys to think they must do what he asks. Initially, Jack cannot even touch a pig, but now he is hurting others. Jack’s hostility intensifies and becomes more hostile. With Jack being on the island for so long his thoughts alter, and he does not notice how evil he is when doing something bad. He is no longer afraid to instill fear into the boys and may be prepared to hurt them if necessary. He does not believe his actions constitute evil.

Jack wants what Jack wants. He will let nothing stand in his way. When Ralph goes to Jack’s camp alone he hides in the bushes, but the twins see him and warn him to leave: “‘They hate you, Ralph...’ ‘They’re going to hunt you tomorrow.’ ‘…Jack, the chief, says it’ll be dangerous…’ ‘-and we’ve got to be careful and throw our spears like at a pig.’” (188). Jack no longer plays nice; he wants to kill Ralph. He has no conscience and his actions are malicious.

When exposed to traumatic experiences, people’s idea of what is acceptable and what is not acceptable changes. When exposed to terror, people can commit evil acts. Overall, Jack changes throughout his time on the island. He leads through force and fear, which affects his group in a negative manner. His thoughts on what is good and what is evil alter significantly.

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