Eng. Lit H
In William Golding’s Lord of the Flies the theme of right versus wrong exists. The plot of the story is a basic fight for civilization where no governing body exists. This means that there is no ruler or parent to tell the kids who have been stranded what to do. They become their own parents so to speak and one of them becomes the leader to try to keep the surviving. However, this theme is best shown between the character traits of the two main characters, Ralph and Jack.
Ralph is a symbol of morale, orderly conduct, and civilization. He becomes the leader of the group and takes upon the responsibility of governing all the stranded kids. He also takes on the task of finding a way to get off the island and be rescued. Ralph has the personality of being mature and making correct decisions at all times. He represents good in the story and strives to do the right things. He does not have the urge to be an all-powerful leader who orders everybody around. Also, he does not have the urge to be savage and evil to the other characters. Ralph makes mature decisions and has a drive to be saved and be rescued. All his actions have the motive of benefiting everyone. His first action as a leader consists of creating a signal fire to get the attention of ships at sea. Gaining their attention to the smoke will eventually lead to them being rescued. Next, he sets to build huts for shelter and appoints Jack to be leader of the hunters to provide food. This one decision will lead to future complications, as Jack is the direct opposite of Ralph.
Jack is a representation of immorality and disorderly conduct. He is not someone who focuses on solving the main problem of getting off the island. Instead, he focuses on
having fun and avoiding work. He has the urge to be a fierce competitor and shows it through savage hunting of animals. He likes to be evil and mean to the younger characters because it brings him amusement. Jack makes immature decisions and is selfish because of his drive to do things for the benefit of himself. He is not one to be ruled over because he has greed for power and sees himself more as a leader instead of a follower. With this as his motive and power of leader of the hunters, Jack makes the immature decision of breaking the group. He decides to make his own tribe that is supposed to be better, stronger, and more fun the Ralph’s tribe. Since he is the leader of the hunters, all of the hunters join him along with most of the other characters. This event will complete the theme of right versus wrong.
With two groups on the island, there is sure to be complications among them. The two groups are opposites: one representing right, morality, and maturity and the other representing wrong, immorality, and immaturity. The group led by Jack wants to attack the other group to prove that they are indeed stronger and because they want all the power. Ralph does not want to fight because it will lead to everyone’s demise, but instead wants to fix the problem through discussion, reason, and compromise. This does not work and Jack is successful in taking everyone out in Ralph’s group except for Ralph. The will power and drive of Ralph’s urge to be moral and good will not let him be defeated. In a run around the island to get away from all of the hunters, Ralph accidentally ignites the entire jungle into an inferno. A British fleet sees the blaze and comes to Ralph’s rescue just before the hunters can kill him. With the rescue complete, Ralph with his righteous personality overcomes all odds and defeats those with wrong personalities.