Lord of the Flies
by William Golding
Lord of the Flies Jack Quotes
"A fire! Make a fire!"
At once half the boys were on their feet. Jack clamored among them, the conch forgotten.
"Come on! Follow me!"
The space under the palm trees was full of noise and movement. Ralph was on his feet too, shouting for quiet, but no one heard him. All at once the crowd swayed toward the island and was gone—following Jack. (2.120-123)
Oops. Ralph's moment at the top of the food chain was pretty brief. It's only chapter two, and Jack's populist tactics are already more undermining the rule of law.
"I painted my face—I stole up. Now you eat—all of you—and I—" (4.191)
Jack yells this right after he throws a hunk of meat at Simon. (Gross.) And, you know? We love Ralph and all, but Jack isn't exactly wrong. He did get the meat, and it's a powerful sign of leadership. If this were a real island tribe, maybe Jack should be the leader. But it's not. It's a group of little boys whose priority really should be getting off the island—and that means the right man for the job is Ralph.
Jack's face swam near him.
"And you shut up! Who are you, anyway? Sitting there telling people what to do. You can't hunt, you can't sing—"
"I'm chief. I was chosen."
"Why should choosing make any difference? Just giving orders that don't make any sense—" (5.238-241)
In case you haven't gotten it by now, Golding spells it out for us: Jack represents an autocratic government, where power is taken; and Ralph represents democratic governments, where power is given.