Primal Fear

In a society complete cooperation by all members must occur for any progress and construction to take place. When stuck on a deserted island in Golding’s Lord of the Flies, Ralph, Piggy, and the rest of the choirboys have no choice open to them but to eke out a living and to attempt to survive while waiting for rescue. This can create a major burden for a group of grown men much less a group of children. Whether it be fear of a loss of power or of not having people to back him up, Jack’s fear lays the eventual straw that breaks that society’s back and which eventually halts the progression of the community. Fear in a society hinders its progress and construction in the long run.
Jack’s fear of a loss of power incomparably impedes progress on the island. Stating, "‘I ought to be chief, because I am chapter chorister and head boy. I can sing C sharp.’" (Golding 22), Jack simply tries to find any kind of reason why power should be taken out of the deserving hands of Ralph and given to his own. Jack demonstrates his dread towards losing control and power. Ralph handles the situation very efficiently and in a well-organized manner. Because of Jack’s greed for power
and his fear of losing it, the small community of young boys are
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not able to effectively and pragmatically plan ways to eventually be saved. When, having a gathering of all the children, Jack urges everyone not to listen to Ralph’s reasoning but rather to listen to his own. This can be described as deleterious to all the children because now not only do they have to deal with how to survive, but also with extra internal conflicts.
As a result of Jack’s fear of the unascertained, he chooses to hunt with all the other boys rather than acknowledge Ralph’s first priority, to keep the fire lit for a chance of being saved. His fear of the unknown becomes the fuel that runs this notion because of his uncertainty about his future and fears that they cannot be saved from the abandoned island. Everyday he leads a group of followers to hunt and catch food. When one day he has to cut the head of the pig, he finally crossed the line that separated all of his followers from English schoolboys into barbarians when he says "‘This head is for the beast. It’s a gift.’" (137). This hinders all progress on the island because the boys think like barbarians rather than civilized human beings.
Jack’s fear of a deprivation of power leads to complete savage-like behavior among the population of the island. Jack’s fear finally crosses the line when Simon mindlessly dies due to a reaction to his presence mirroring that of a group of barbarians.
When he emerges from the forest to try to tell the group something while they continue a dancing ritual which they do
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after a kill, the boys savagely kill him and beat Simon like an animal. Even Ralph participates in this harsh and senseless killing. Furthermore, Jack makes everyone believe that the children had no part in this at all. Jack demonstrates this when Stanley asks, "‘But didn’t we, didn’t we--?’" and Jack replies, "‘No! How could we -- kill -- it?’" (160). Many lives could have continued without Jack’s phobia of a power shift.
Jack’s malicious acts and fear garrote all of Ralph’s plans to construct and progress on the island. Jack causes the death of Simon, the indirect death of Piggy, entertains the chance that nobody could find the children and save them, and the feasibility that the whole population of the island to become no better than the pigs that they hunted. Fear is something that can destroy a whole society in the blink of an eye.

Category: English