Lord of the Flies

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Jack Character Analysis

The head boy of his chorus back in civilization, Jack becomes the leader of the hunters on the island. Jack loves power. Laws and rules interest him only because they give him the chance to punish the other boys and express his dominance over them. He loves to hunt and kill because it gives him a chance to dominate nature. Jack gets angry whenever he doesn't get his way: he believes a proper leader issues orders and is obeyed. By the end of the novel he becomes exactly that sort of leader, wielding power only for his own whim and benefit. Jack symbolizes the human love of dominance and power.

Jack Quotes in Lord of the Flies

The Lord of the Flies quotes below are all either spoken by Jack or refer to Jack. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Human Nature Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Penguin Books edition of Lord of the Flies published in 2003.
Chapter 4 Quotes
"Kill the pig! Cut her throat! Spill her blood!"
Related Characters: Jack (speaker)
Page Number: 69
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, the boys on the island unite together as they hunt for food. Although the purpose of the hunt is very straightforward--kill a pig so that the boys have food to eat--something happens during the course of the hunt. The boys seem to unite together in their pursuit of the pig: they become one mind, one body--a mob.

The passage is important because it exemplifies the distinction between the Dionysian and Apollonian states of mind (ideas from the philosophy of Nietzsche, and based on the Ancient Greek gods Apollo and Dionysus). Ralph wants to live in an Apollonian society--a society of order, rules, and individuality. Jack, however, wants to embrace the Dionysian--to live in a world of brutality, chaos, and mob mentality. The hunt for the pig can certainly be interpreted either as an Apollonian event (an event with a clear purpose: find food) or a Dionysian event (an event designed to build unity and encourage the boys to embrace violence). Here, though, the Dionysian side of the hunt seems to be winning.

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His mind was crowded with memories; memories of the knowledge that had come to them when they closed in on the struggling pig, knowledge that they had outwitted a living thing, imposed their will upon it, taken away its life like a long satisfying drink.
Related Characters: Jack
Page Number: 70
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Golding offers us a window into Jack's inner thoughts. Jack is a violent, bullying boy, who seems to savor any opportunity to dominate other people. In this passage, we learn that Jack enjoys hunting the pig--not because he wants to eat, but because he enjoys the feeling of dominating another being and taking away its life.

Jack's thoughts might seem violent or brutal, and yet they're an undeniable part of what it means to be a human being. In other words, Jack exemplifies the dangers of civilization. There will always be people like Jack leading society: people who pretend to be calm, rational leaders, but who in reality enjoy leadership because it allows them to control others. (It's worth remembering that Jack was a prefect at his school in England--it's easy to imagine him sadistically disciplining other students and enjoying every minute of it.)

Chapter 8 Quotes
The spear moved forward inch by inch and the terrified squealing became a high-pitched scream. Then Jack found the throat and the hot blood spouted over his hands. The sow collapsed under them and they were heavy and fulfilled upon her.
Related Characters: Jack
Page Number: 135
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Jack engages in another hunt--one that's depicted in heavily sexualized language. Jack and his followers pursue a pig, but not just any pig--a sow (i.e., a female pig). By any rational measure, it's a bad idea for Jack to kill a sow--if the boys want to eat, then they should let the sow live to give birth to more pigs. But of course, Jack and his followers aren't entirely concerned with eating, or any other practical issue for that matter. They want to savor the feeling of murder.

Jack's killing is presented as a sexual act: he thrusts a phallic spear into the female pig, followed by a burst of bodily fluids, and finally, a tired, heavy "fulfillment." Golding, a Freudian, associates sex and aggression: they're two sides of the same savage, brutal, yet quintessentially human coin. In short, the scene exemplifies everything irrational and violent about human nature--everything that Ralph is trying, unsuccessfully, to eliminate from his island society.

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Jack Character Timeline in Lord of the Flies

The timeline below shows where the character Jack appears in Lord of the Flies. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Human Nature Theme Icon
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
Spirituality and Religion Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
...of the older boys are members of a choir, dressed in black. Their leader is Jack, a redhead who tries to take control of the meeting. One of the boys in... (full context)
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
The boys decide to vote for a leader. Everyone in the choir votes for Jack, but all the other boys vote for Ralph because he blew the conch. To keep... (full context)
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
Spirituality and Religion Theme Icon
Ralph decides the boys must explore their island. He and Jack will both go, of course. Ralph ignores Piggy's whining pleas to be included, and picks... (full context)
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
...mountain to the beach. On the way, they spot a wild pig caught in vines. Jack pulls out his pocket knife, but pauses before striking, and the pig escapes. Jack vows... (full context)
Chapter 2
Human Nature Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
...blows the conch to call another meeting. Ralph announces that they're on an uninhabited island. Jack interrupts to say that they still need an army in order to hunt pigs. (full context)
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
Jack, excited, shouts out that they can make more rules and punish whoever breaks them. (full context)
Human Nature Theme Icon
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
...older boys dismiss this "beastie" as just a nightmare, but the younger boys seem scared. Jack grabs the conch and says there's no snake-thing. If there is, he adds, his hunters... (full context)
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
...of dead wood on the mountain. They can't figure out how start the fire until Jack grabs the glasses off Piggy's face. Ralph uses the glasses to focus the sun's rays... (full context)
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
Spirituality and Religion Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
...burns out because the wood is so dry. Piggy starts to criticize the boys, but Jack shouts him down. Simon points out that Piggy's glasses made the fire possible. (full context)
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
Ralph says they have to keep the fire burning every day without fail. Jack volunteers himself and his hunters to do the job. (full context)
Chapter 3
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
It's weeks later. In the deep silence of the jungle, Jack tracks a pig and hurls his spear at it. As usual, he misses. Jack returns... (full context)
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
Spirituality and Religion Theme Icon
...he and Simon are working on the huts, which are falling apart. He complains to Jack that everyone else is off playing or hunting. (full context)
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
Ralph's complaint offends Jack. Ralph points out that all the hunters except Jack came back hours ago, and are... (full context)
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
Ralph and Jack argue whether hunting is as important as building shelters. (full context)
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
Spirituality and Religion Theme Icon
...as if the island is bad, not the good island Ralph described in Chapter 2. Jack agrees. While hunting in the jungle, he says, he often feels like he's the one... (full context)
Civilization Theme Icon
Ralph puts the focus of the conversation back on getting rescued. He mentions Jack and the hunter's responsibility for the fire, which causes another argument. Jack claims hunting is... (full context)
Chapter 4
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
Jack emerges from the forest and calls to Roger, telling him to follow. In the jungle,... (full context)
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
...the pig. Cut her throat. Spill her blood." The hunters come up to the mountaintop. Jack, not realizing what's happened, is triumphant after killing the pig. Furious, Ralph tells Jack about... (full context)
Human Nature Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
Piggy and even some of the hunters start yelling at Jack. Jack, humiliated and angry, hits Piggy. Piggy's glasses fly off, breaking a lens. Jack mocks... (full context)
Civilization Theme Icon
Eventually Jack apologizes for letting the fire die. Ralph asks Piggy's permission to use his glasses to... (full context)
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
They cook the pig, but Jack refuses to give Piggy any meat. Simon shares with Piggy. (full context)
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
Jack and his boys begin to reenact the killing of the pig in a kind of... (full context)
Chapter 5
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
Jack stands and reaches for the conch so he can talk. But Ralph refuses to hand... (full context)
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
...He doesn't know why, but he thinks they should discuss their fear to overcome it. Jack takes the conch. He calls the littleun's crybabies. He says he's been all over the... (full context)
Human Nature Theme Icon
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
...boys if they're humans or savages? He mentions the hunters letting the fire go out. Jack furiously rips the conch from him. (full context)
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
Ralph accuses Jack of breaking the rules. Jack questions Ralph's leadership. He says he doesn't care about the... (full context)
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
...down as chief, but Piggy protests. He says everything would descend into chaos, and then Jack would target Piggy. (full context)
Chapter 6
Human Nature Theme Icon
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
Ralph calls a meeting that quickly becomes heated. Jack questions Ralph's decisions and leadership, mocks Piggy, and claims the conch no longer matters. For... (full context)
Human Nature Theme Icon
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
...the littleuns. At the far tip of the island, the biguns find a rock formation Jack calls the "castle." The rock is accessible only by a piece of stone forty feet... (full context)
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
The boys find no beast, but Jack is excited because the rock protects a cave and would make a terrific fort. It... (full context)
Chapter 7
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
...they need to use a real pig next time, so they can really kill it. Jack suggests they use a littleun. All the other boys laugh. (full context)
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
Jack mocks Ralph's concern for Piggy. Ralph asks Jack why he hates him. The question makes... (full context)
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
At the base of the mountain, the boys stop for the night. But Jack questions Ralph's courage, and so Ralph agrees to climb right then. Only Roger agrees to... (full context)
Chapter 8
Human Nature Theme Icon
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
Jack says his hunters could kill the beast. Ralph says they're just boys with sticks. Infuriated,... (full context)
Civilization Theme Icon
Next Jack accuses Ralph of belittling the hunters. He says Ralph is like Piggy and isn't a... (full context)
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Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
Spirituality and Religion Theme Icon
Jack storms off, humiliated and crying. He vows to form a new group, and says anyone... (full context)
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Civilization Theme Icon
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The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
...that all the biguns but Samneric and Piggy have disappeared. Most have gone to join Jack. (full context)
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
Elsewhere in the jungle, Jack declares himself chief of the boys who have joined him. As chief, he says he's... (full context)
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
The boys track, corner, and kill a big sow (a female pig). Jack cuts off its head. He decides they'll raid Ralph's camp fore fire to cook the... (full context)
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
Jack emerges from the forest into Ralph's camp. As his followers steal fire from the signal... (full context)
Human Nature Theme Icon
Civilization Theme Icon
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...have fun on this island!" The beast warns Simon that if he tries to interfere Jack, Roger, Maurice, Robert, Bill, Piggy, and Ralph will "do" him. (full context)
Chapter 9
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
Meanwhile, everyone but a few littleuns and Ralph and Piggy have gone to Jack's feast. Ralph mocks the feast as a bunch of boys "pretending" to act like a... (full context)
Human Nature Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
Jack acts like a savage chief at the feast. His face is painted and he wears... (full context)
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
When Ralph arrives, Jack asks the gathered boys who will join his tribe. Ralph says that he's still chief... (full context)
Human Nature Theme Icon
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
It starts to rain, and Ralph laughs that Jack's tribe had no foresight to build shelters. In response, Jack whips the group into "their... (full context)
Chapter 10
Civilization Theme Icon
...next morning, Piggy and Ralph discover that every bigun except them and Samneric has joined Jack's tribe. Ralph tells Piggy that the "beast" that came out of the forest was Simon,... (full context)
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
Jack moves his tribe to Castle Rock. He orders his savages to post a guard and... (full context)
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
Jack says they'll go hunting tomorrow and have a feast. To cook the meat, they'll raid... (full context)
Chapter 11
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
...an assembly. He does. They decide to go to Castle Rock. Piggy plans to ask Jack to give back his glasses because "what's right's right." Ralph, Sam, and Eric decide to... (full context)
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
Jack appears from the forest behind Ralph's group, followed by hunters carrying a pig on a... (full context)
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
Ralph demands that Jack return Piggy's glasses. He mentions again the importance of the signal fire. Jack's tribe has... (full context)
Civilization Theme Icon
Ralph and Jack start to fight again, but Piggy asks to speak and Ralph relents. Piggy raises the... (full context)
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
Stunned silence descends over the tribe. But suddenly Jack screams and throws his spear at Ralph, aiming to kill. Ralph runs into the jungle,... (full context)
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
The tribe brings Samneric into the fort. Jack prods them with his spear to terrorize them into joining his tribe. Roger brushes past... (full context)
Chapter 12
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
...a hiding place in the forest. He thinks the boys have become savages and knows Jack will try to kill him. (full context)
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
...on Castle Rock. Samneric are guarding the gates. He sneaks up to them. Frightened of Jack and Roger, Samneric beg Ralph to leave. But first they give him meat and tell... (full context)
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
...of the forest behind Ralph. The officer asks who's in charge. Ralph says he is. Jack is quiet. Percival Wemys Madison tries and fails to say his own name. (full context)