Jack

Jack

Jack has red hair and freckles and is tall, thin and bony. When Jack first appears he is already in a position of authority as he is the Head Boy of his school and lead chorister. It is no wonder that he is annoyed when Ralph is elected leader above him. Jack is clearly used to getting his own way and is a bully - he uses verbal and physical violence when necessary. It is noteworthy that Jack has a knife with him which he produces in one of the first conversations with Ralph. Although he hesitates to kill the first pig they come across, it is not long before Jack is able to do so at which point other boys start to follow his ways.

Jack eventually forms a breakaway group of his own and swiftly becomes a violent dictator. By the end of the novel, he is ordering the torture of other boys and even tries to organise the murder of Ralph. Jack is an unlikeable character, motivated by evil and whose bad traits only get worse as the story progresses.

How is Jack like this?EvidenceAnalysis
Savage Right from the start, Jack has a savage nature. He is a cruel bully and picks on those who are weaker than himself. Throughout the novel he gradually turns into a real savage with no sense of justice or what is right. He began to dance and his laughter became a bloodthirsty snarling. He capered toward Bill, and the mask was a thing on its own, behind which Jack hid, liberated from shame and self-consciousness.Jack has been painting his face with war paint to make him look even more menacing than he already is. The mask seems to turn him into something else - a dancing, leaping savage whose laugh becomes the growling of an animal.
Rule-breaker When it suits him, Jack ignores the rules or makes up new ones to suit his purpose. He expects others to stick to the rules but does not see the need to do so himself."The rules!" shouted Ralph. "You're breaking the rules!" "Who cares?" Ralph summoned his wits. "Because the rules are the only thing we've got!" In the middle of an argument, Ralph tries to remind Jack of the rules that he (Jack) first suggested. He refuses to be part of the system he set up.
TyrantWhen Ralph is elected leader Jack is far from happy and spends the rest of the novel trying to win back the power he has lost. To do so he has to form a separate group and then rules them with terror and fear. In the end Jack is a vicious dictator.Power lay in the brown swell of his forearms: authority sat on his shoulder and chattered in his ear like an ape. "All sit down." The boys ranged themselves in rows on the grass before him...and pointed at them with the spear. "Who's going to join my tribe?"Jack is connected to the words 'power' and 'authority'. He tells the boys abruptly what to do...and they do it without question. His mask and spear are symbols of his power.

Analysing the evidence

quote
Jack was bent double. He was down like a sprinter, his nose only a few inches from the humid earth. The tree trunks and the creepers that festooned them lost themselves in a green dusk thirty feet above him, and all about was the undergrowth. There was only the faintest indication of a trail here; a cracked twig and what might be the impression of one side of a hoof. He lowered his chin and stared at the traces as though he would force them to speak to him. Then dog-like, uncomfortably on all fours yet unheeding his discomfort, he stole forward five yards and stopped.Jack, as described by William Golding in the novel
Question

How is Jack presented in this passage?

How to analyse the quote:

'Jack was bent double. He was down like a sprinter, his nose only a few inches from the humid earth. The tree trunks and the creepers that festooned them lost themselves in a green dusk thirty feet above him, and all about was the undergrowth. There was only the faintest indication of a trail here; a cracked twig and what might be the impression of one side of a hoof. He lowered his chin and stared at the traces as though he would force them to speak to him. Then dog-like, uncomfortably on all fours yet unheeding his discomfort, he stole forward five yards and stopped.'

  • 'bent double'/'unheeding his discomfort' - he is so concentrated on what he is doing that he does not notice anything else.
  • 'He was down like a sprinter' - Jack's athletic nature is highlighted.
  • 'dog-like' - he is also compared to an animal.

How to use this in an essay:

Jack has become obsessed with hunting and he is shown here on the trail of one of the island's pigs. He is actually quite good at what he does and is concentrating so hard that he bends himself into awkward shapes ('bent double') and does not even notice his own discomfort ('unheeding his discomfort'). Jack has something to prove to himself and the others because he backed down from killing a pig on the first hunt - this time he does not want to fail. William Golding highlights Jack's natural athletic ability when he writes 'He was down like a sprinter'. However he uses a further simile ('dog-like') to let the reader know that Jack is gradually becoming more like an animal and that he will grow to be dangerous.