Jack is, in many ways, the complete opposite of Ralph. Then again, Jack is a lot like Ralph. It seems we have some explaining to do. Like Ralph, Jack is charismatic and inclined to leadership. Unlike Ralph, he gets off on power and abuses his position above others (think about Jack Merridew at the beginning of the novel, letting Simon faint under his watch). If Ralph is made better through his role as chief, Jack is corrupted by it, becoming worse and worse as he gains more and more control over the others. Like Ralph, Jack is brave; the two of them together climb the mountain to face the beast, one of many moments of odd camaraderie between the two. Yet while Ralph clings to the rules and order of his British upbringing, Jack revels in the fact that there are no grown-ups! He gets to swear, play war games, hunt things, and paint his face, without risking being sent to his room for playing rough and accidentally killing the neighbors.
So there you have it. Ralph and Jack: polar opposites who are almost one-in-the-same. They might have been best buddies had they not come up against each other in the big election. Jack is obviously humiliated by his loss and spends the rest of the novel nursing his wounded ego back to health, right up to his secession from Ralph’s union and oh-so-telling declaration, “See? They do what I want.”
That’s not all. Jack also has the quality of bigotry, as he says things like “We’re English, and the English are best at everything.” Kids say the darndest things. And unfortunately, kids also jump on bandwagons, and Jack happens to be riding the A train. The A-MORAL train, that is. Did you notice how easily the boys are persuaded to join the pig-eating, Simon-murdering, Bacchic-frenzied crowd over the restrained, hard-laboring, fire-making, shelter-building camp that Ralph is running?
Now because this is Lord of the Flies and because it matters everywhere else, we have to take a look at religion in Jack’s character. Jack gets strangely superstitious as he gives in to his savage yearnings; he insists that the boys leave offerings for the beast, he sits garlanded like a god at his feast, and he has the boys perform ritual, ceremonial pig-hunts, complete with dancing and chanting and other spooky stuff. This, of course, only gives him more power, the power of a religious idol; how else could Jack get his tribe to do whatever he wants (hunt Ralph) for little reward (just some pig’s meat)? He’s taking advantage of superstitious beliefs.