Essay On Jack Merridew In Lord Of The Flies

900 Words4 Pages
In the book Lord of The Flies, William Golding conveys his beliefs on human nature through the egomaniacal character Jack Merridew. Jack reveals that humans must forfeit their identity to conquer their fear. Through the course of the book, Jack changes who he is to conquer his fear of failure. His name reflects these perceptions of who he is and how others view him. As ‘Merridew’, he is the successful chapter chorister and head boy. As ‘Jack’, he fails to become chief, to kill the pig or to keep the fire going. As the ‘awesome stranger’, he overcomes the shame of his prior failures, kills the pig and becomes chief. Finally, as chief, he gets the boys to follow him without question. Ultimately, these changes are the result of his need to avoid…show more content…
“‘I ought to be chief’, said Jack with simple arrogance, ‘because I’m chapter chorister and head boy. I can sing C sharp.’” pg. 19. He introduces himself as Merridew, which is his last name, and what he was called in England. As they are choosing their names, Jack wants to be called by his last name, like how adults are called. “Kids’ names,” said Merridew. “Why should I be Jack? I'm Merridew.” pg. 18. As ‘Merridew’, he had power and was successful in England. This success was defined by the British society structure. He was the ‘chapter chorister’ and ‘head boy’, and could sing ‘C sharp’, so in his mind, he should be the chief. Unlike in England, ‘Merridew’ is ignored on the island, even his wishes to be called Merridew. The boys begin to call him…show more content…
The more savage he becomes, the more he is able to control the rest of the group. All the boys fear the chief, which gives him control over them. The chief uses his ability to hunt as a symbol of power. “We’ll hunt. I’m going to be chief.” Jack says on pg. 120. Jack announces his ‘new title’ and expects the boys to call him by that name. “Roger edged past the chief, only just avoiding pushing him with his shoulder.” pg. 231. Roger is fearful of brushing past ‘the chief’ with his shoulder, and avoids contact with ‘the chief’. Golding and the boys refer to Jack only as the chief after he announces his ‘new title’. As ‘the chief’, he is successful, and this success is defined by the island societal structure. ‘The chief’ can hunt, feast, ‘compel’ the boys to follow him, and ultimately, ‘the chief’ is fearless.
Throughout the novel, Lord of the Flies, Golding uses Jack to portray how humans must be willing to give up their identity to conquer their fear. This change in who he was resulted in Jack being able to conquer his fear of failure. This theme in the book connects to the concept we studied in the beginning of the year about identity. The book, American Born Chinese, by Gene Luen Yang, has a similar message. “It’s easy to become anything you wish….so long as you’re willing to forfeit your soul.” pg. 29. Jack is a representation of how humans must be willing to sacrifice their identity to
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