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Lord of the Flies

Lord of the Flies


by William Golding

Jack Timeline and Summary

  • Jack is introduced to us as “Merridew,” the tyrannical leader of the choir boys. Under his leadership, Simon faints in the hot sun.
  • Once the boys decide that Ralph should be leader, Jack declares that he should be chief.
  • When Ralph gives him control over the choir-boys, Jack decides his group will act as the hunters.
  • Ralph, Jack and Simon go off to explore the island and try to discover if it is really uninhabited.
  • On their way back to the lagoon they find a small pig tangled in the creepers. Jack raises his knife, but can’t quite bring himself to kill it. After the pig escapes, he thinks, “Next time there will be no mercy.”
  • Ralph insists that they build signal fire so that when a ship comes the men on board will see the smoke and know where to find them.
  • The boys rush to the top of the mountain, collecting dry firewood on the way, and Jack snatches Piggy’s “specs” (his thick glasses) to magnify the light and start a fire.
  • Time has passed, and we see Jack, his bare back a “mass of dark freckles and peeling sunburn.” He is naked except for a pair of tattered shorts.
  • Jack has become obsessed with killing a pig, and he seems to be becoming more like an animal himself, raising his head and sniffing the air through flared nostrils.
  • Catching sight of a pile of droppings, Jack finds a pig but once again misses with his spear.
  • Highly frustrated, Jack makes his way to where Ralph and Simon are trying to build two shelters out of palm trunks and leaves.
  • Ralph and Jack have an argument over which is more important – building shelters, or finding meat. Ralph wants Jack to help him and Simon build the shelters because they’re having a hard time doing it alone.
  • Jack cannot give up the idea of the pig-hunt and suggests they paint their faces and sneak up on the animals while they sleep in the hottest part of the day.
  • More time has passed. The boys have developed a sort of rhythm in their lives that involves the littluns playing together, some of the biguns (Jack and the choir boys) still hunting pigs, and the others (Ralph and Simon and Piggy) trying to build shelters and keep the signal fire going.
  • Jack has decided that the reason he can’t kill a pig is that they can see him coming, so he decides to paint his face with white clay, red clay, and a stick of charcoal.
  • Once he finally gets it right, Jack looks at himself in a large shell of water (a coconut shell) and is astonished to see an “awesome stranger” looking back at him.
  • The other boys rush after Jack as he runs off to make another attempt to kill a pig.
  • They are successful this time, and the choir boys march along with Jack, carrying a dead pig on a stake and chanting, “Kill the pig. Cut her throat. Spill her blood.”
  • The procession winds up the side of the mountain and Jack and the choir boys start telling Ralph and Piggy excitedly how they managed to kill the pig.
  • Jack and the choir boys can tell something is wrong, but they don’t know what it is.
  • Finally, Ralph tells them that they let the signal fire go out and in the meantime, a ship has passed by without seeing them.
  • Piggy is furious and he and Jack start shouting at each other, at last coming to blows.
  • Jack punches Piggy and his glasses fly off.
  • At last, Jack apologizes to Ralph for letting the fire go out.
  • As they start the fire and roast the pig, some sort of peace is restored for the moment, but surely not for long.
  • After Ralph talks to the boys at the assembly, Jack grabs the conch and starts talking about the beast that the littluns are afraid of.
  • After much discussion, the meeting disintegrates and Jack shouts that the only thing to do is to hunt the beast down.
  • Jack starts off with a pack of boys  to search for the beast.
  • After Sam and Eric deliver the news about the beast, Jack again says they have to hunt it down.
  • Jack, Ralph, and some of the biguns decide to go looking for it.
  • They head for the tail end of the island, where the rocks make a sort of bridge – they’ve never explored that part before, and they think the beast might be hiding there.
  • When they get to the rocks, Ralph declares he will go in and look for the beast because he’s the chief. Bravery aside, once he gets halfway in he hears a sound and sees that Jack has followed him.
  • Jack, acting like a decent person for once, says, “couldn’t let you do it on your own.”
  • Not surprisingly, there is no beast inside.
  • Jack and Ralph have some fun exploring, then decide they are going to have to climb to the top of the mountain and look for the beast there, even though they’re pretty sure they won’t find anything.
  • The boys are starting up the mountain again when the bushes crash ahead of them and a large boar (a male pig with tusks) comes rushing out.
  • Jack takes off unsuccessfully after the boar.
  • The boys play a game in which they pretend Robert is the pig. After they’re done “hunting” him, they start up the mountain again.
  • Ralph, Jack and Roger go the last distance by themselves.
  • Jack goes first and sees the “beast” (the parachute man) bowing and lifting in the wind, but can’t really tell what it is. Horribly frightened, he rushes back to get Ralph and Roger.
  • They trio goes together to take a look.
  • They finally get a look at what they think is a giant ape sitting there, asleep, with his head between his knees. At the sight of it, they leap back down the hillside.
  • The next morning, Jack tries to take control of the situation. He calls an assembly by blowing the conch.
  • He tells the group about the beast and then, wanting to maintain control of the others, asks who thinks Ralph shouldn’t be chief anymore.
  • When no one is willing to agree with this idea, Jack is humiliated and declares that he is going to go off by himself. He says Ralph can catch his own pigs from now on.
  • Jack invites whoever wants to join him and runs off into the forest.
  • Jack and his group of hunters discuss how they will kill a pig and have a feast.
  • They decide they will leave part of the pig for the beast, in hopes that the creature won’t bother them.
  • The boys find a group of pigs sleeping together and set their sights on the biggest, fattest one – a mother, nursing a row of piglets. They take aim together and kill her.
  • The boys realize that to cook the pig, they are going to need fire, and without Piggy’s glasses, they have no way to start one. So Jack says that they will steal some fire from Ralph’s group later on.
  • Jack bends over the pig with his knife and cuts off her head.
  • He rams a pointed stick into the crack of a rock and jams the pig’s severed head onto the other end.
  • Later that night, Jack, Maurice, and Robert run up to the fire and grab some of the burning sticks.
  • After grabbing the sticks, they announce that they are having a pig roast and that anyone can come eat with them who wants to.
  • Then they run off again.
  • Jack puts on a great feast for all the boys. While they eat, Jack sits on a great log, “painted and garlanded,” like an idol.
  • Jack graciously offers Piggy and Ralph some food, which they take.
  • After everyone eats, Jack demands to know who is going to join his tribe.
  • Lightning flashes and Jack jumps up and begins to dance. The other boys join him and act out the pig hunt again.
  • As they dance wildly, something crawls toward them from the forest and stumbles into the circle. It’s Simon.
  • Jack, along with all the other boys, spears Simon to death.
  • Jack sits naked from the waist up, his face painted in white and red as Wilfred, “newly beaten,” cries.
  • Jack announces that they will hunt again tomorrow.
  • They discuss that they will have to steal fire from the others again, in order to roast the meat.
  • During the night, Jack and his hunters attack Ralph and Piggy and steal Piggy’s glasses. Now they have power to make fire all on their own.
  • Jack comes out of the forest the next day and finds Piggy and Ralph arguing with his hunters about Piggy’s glasses.
  • Ralph and Jack are fiercely angry at each other and begin to fight, swinging at each other with their spears.
  • During a pause in the fighting, Jack tells the savages to grab Sam and Eric, which they do after some mild hesitation.
  • Jack charges at Ralph again, but stops when Piggy holds up the conch and yells at them to let him speak.
  • After Piggy falls to his death, Jack rushes forward, screaming that he really is chief now because the conch is gone.
  • Jack hurls his spear into Ralph’s ribs.
  • After Ralph runs away, Jack and the others go back to their fort. Jack tells Sam and Eric that they have to join his tribe.
  • Jack pokes Sam with his spear until both the twins give in.
  • Jack makes a plan to hunt for Ralph the next day with the intent to kill him.
  • Jack forces the twins to tell him where Ralph is hiding.
  • He lights the thicket on fire to smoke Ralph out.
  • Jack and his savages chase Ralph through the forest, but his plan is thwarted when rescuers from the Navy show up. We learn that, ironically, it is the fire from Jack’s smoke that has led them to the island.
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