‘No adults mean no future’. In The Lord of the Flies by William Golding, a group of boys become stranded on a desert island and must fight to survive. Almost all the boys change because the surroundings are different and there are no adults. Fascinating character changes can be seen in Ralph, Jack and Piggy.
Ralph represents all that is good however, due to his weaknesses he becomes a bit evil. Ralph is one of the eldest boys who represents: democracy, morality, and leadership. Golding writes, “You could see now that he might make a boxer, as far as width and heaviness of shoulders went, but there was a mildness about his mouth and eyes that proclaimed no devil” (Golding 11). Ralph is the one who creates a mock democracy and keeps the peace and order. Ralph’s primary goal is to be rescued by lighting a signal fire, however this plan fails due to Jack’s betrayal, the antagonist.
Ralph stands for everything that is good: democracy, morality, and leadership. Although Ralph is meant to represent goodness, he still has weaknesses resulting in evil. Ralph says, “Don’t you understand, Piggy? The things we did” (Golding 225). His weakness is proved when he participates in Simon’s death, unable to resist the power of group psychology. He’s also the one who tells the rest of the group Piggy’s hated nickname, which begins Piggy’s embarrassment and humiliation. This is meant to show the weaknesses in human nature, even in people who have the best intentions.
The author thought that all men, no matter how strong they appear, are weak and without resolve and that the strong will always win over the weak. According to the author, even the people who are to symbolize good still have weaknesses, which leads to evil. Due to the shortcomings in Ralph, he turns from good to a little evil.
Golding makes Jack a fascinating character as he makes him change from a civilized boy into a terrifying and reckless boy. At the start of the book, Jack is clearly still confined by society’s rules and still wants to be seen as good. “Because of the enormity of the knife descending and cutting into living ﬂesh; because of the unbearable blood”, mentions Golding. (Golding 41). The word ‘enormity’ reminds us that killing the pig is a major deal for Jack, and he struggles to murder a live thing because he had never done it before. Even though the knife is only moving a small distance to Jack, it feels like an eternity as he tries to perform a major act of murder.
On the other hand, the words ‘living flesh’ shows that Jack still empathizes with the pig and doesn’t want to kill it. It’s apparent at this time that Jack still wants to follow the rules and believes that harming others is bad. Jack is clearly still governed by society’s rules at the start of the novel, and he still wants to be viewed as respectable.
Jack begins to change slowly and develops a crazy and violent side. “His mind was crowded with memories; memories of the knowledge that had come to them when they closed in on the struggling pig, the knowledge that they had outwitted a living thing, imposed their will upon it, taken away its life like a long satisfying drink.” (Golding 98). Jack gets caught after his first kill. Killing becomes a dilemma. Jack’s obsession with murder quickly turns into something far more terrible. Jack is the one who leads the boys on a wild dance that ends with Simon’s death, and he is the one who encourages Roger to kill Piggy.
The downfall of Ralph’s democratic ‘government,’ and eventually the devastation of the entire Island, is due to Jacks’ evident obsession with blood, murder, and power. Jack gradually transforms into a crazy and violent individual. Golding creates a fascinating character in Jack by making his personality develop from a reasonably pleasant boy to one who begins to challenge authority and eventually become the authority on the island.
Golding makes Piggy a unique character as he changes him from an insecure fat boy to a very confident fat boy. Piggy suffers from low self-esteem and confidence at the beginning of the novel. Piggy says “I don’t care what they call me, so long as they don’t call me what they used to call me at school…They used to call me Piggy,” (Golding 12). This quote gives the reader a glance into Piggy’s past. The reader can assume from the quote that Piggy was made fun of for his weight before he came to the island and does not want to be treated like this again.
Piggy seems scared that the new boys will tease him. Piggy has a low sense of self-worth and confidence at the beginning of the story. As the novel went on Piggy starts to build up his confidence and self-consciousness. “I wasn’t scared,” said Ralph slowly, “I was—I don’t know what I was.” “We was scared!” said Piggy excitedly. “Anything might have happened (Golding 224).
This quote shows that Piggy isn’t afraid to be true to himself and he is very assertive. Ralph is trying to cover up the fact that they are scared but Piggy shows his feelings and is honest and true to himself and Ralph. He isn’t afraid to express his thoughts, even if they show weaknesses. Piggy’s confidence and self-consciousness grow as the narrative progresses. Although Piggy’s personality is totally different from others he stays true to himself and others as the novel goes on.
Ralph, Jack, and Piggy have the most interesting character changes. In conclusion, Golding develops Jack’s character from a relatively pleasant youngster to one who begins to resist authority while also allowing Piggy to become more of himself. He also reveals Ralph’s weaknesses.