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When an individual feels insecure and powerless, they may engage in harming others to gain control. Some bullies physically hurt people, some bullies verbally mistreat others, and some bullies mentally abuse individuals. In William Golding’s novel ‘Lord of the Flies’, a group of boys are involved in a plane crash on an island and must learn to survive on their own. Among the group, a boy named Jack Merridew, who is the leader of the choir boys at his school, arrived on the island with experience in controlling others. Jack symbolizes the dark side of human nature due to the fact that he uses his power to instill fear within Piggy, who is a very intelligent yet physically vulnerable boy. Above all, he spends the majority of his time causing harm to the group.

Jack demonstrates his cruel behavior in his relationship with Piggy by bullying him in myriad ways. While Piggy checks to see if he knows all the names Jack tells him to shut up because he was talking too much, and mentions Piggy’s overweight problem (Golding, 21). From the very beginning, Piggy’s weak character made him an easy target for Jack to display his toughness. Clearly, Jack has no sensitivity toward Piggy’s emotions, and he enjoys the laughter he receives from the other boys. Jack jeers Piggy with the goal of degrading him and making him feel like his words have no value while making himself look superior and powerful. Furthermore, when Piggy confronts Jack about letting the fire go out, Jack becomes embarrassed and “[sticks] his fist into Piggy’s stomach […and] [smacks] [his] head” (Golding, 71). He notices Piggy is a threat when some of the other boys agree with him and feels humiliated, leading him to quickly react violently to demonstrate his dominance. Jack is aware that Piggy is not strong enough to defend himself, therefore, he attacks him, resulting in one of the lenses of Piggy’s glasses breaking. This rambunctious boy not only beat Piggy up but left him with one eye to see the world with. In addition, while Piggy explains to Ralph how he would be afraid if Jack became chief, he confesses, “If you’re scared of someone you hate him but you can’t stop thinking about him”, and he goes on to say, “it’s like asthma an’ you can’t breathe” (Golding, 93). Piggy is mentally damaged from his relationship with Jack, and it is harming the way he thinks. He refers to the abuse being like asthma where he cannot breathe because he is most likely suffering from anxiety. The pain and distress Piggy experiences impact almost every aspect of his life, leaving him with a lack of confidence, isolation, and vulnerability. Jack continually verbally and physically mistreats Piggy, which results in mentally harming him.

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Additionally, Jack’s poor leadership and decision making is more detrimental than beneficial for the tribe. After Jack leaves Ralph’s group, Ralph wonders where many of the others went, and it becomes clear to him that “they’ve gone…they won’t play either” (Golding, 131). This proves that Jack is a terrible influence on the boys because he was the first to leave Ralph’s group, setting an example for the boys. As Jack stands in front of his new tribe, his first order as chief is to hunt. He is harming the boys because the fate of their lives is in his hands, and his main priority is to hunt. The bloodthirsty adolescent does not believe that a signal fire is nearly as important as food. He is in complete lust for blood and will keep them there until they run out of food and die. When Ralph points out an approaching storm and the lack of shelters Jack has, Jack quickly invites everyone to “do [his tribe’s] dance”, which eventually leads to “Simon’s dead body moved out towards the open sea” (Golding, 151-154). As Ralph was making Jack feel bad about his poor leadership skills, Jack becomes indecisive and distracts them with his tribal dance. If he had not initiated this ritual to avoid talking about priorities, then Simon would be alive. The group follows Jack in letting go of morals and entering violence and savagery. He becomes wilder each time he kills a creature, giving him more control over the group. The more people on Jack’s team, the more savages the island carries, and the more people Jack dehumanizes. The danger lies in Jack’s lack of planning ahead, and hunger for blood.

Throughout the novel, it is evident that Jack displays his toughness in his relationship with Piggy by bullying him, and he causes the most damage to the boys through his leadership. Jack finds anyone who challenges him a threat and will do anything to get them out of his way. His priorities were never in the group’s best interest, and it would have never rescued them. Luckily, through his reckless behavior, he set the island on fire, which caught the attention of a passing ship.

Golding uses Jack to represent the savagery and evil in man. Jack’s actions are related to dictatorship and anarchy in society. Often, when people are given power, they abuse it and use fear to motivate others. Dictators love commanding others and are driven by supremacy.

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