Jack is described by Golding as "tall, thin, and bony; and his hair was red beneath
the black cap. His face was crumpled and freckled, and ugly without silliness. Out of this
face stared two light blue eyes, frustrated now, and turning, or ready to turn, to
Jack is the
leading advocate of anarchy on the island. Jack is the leader of the savage tribe which
hunts the pigs. Opposed to Ralph and Piggy on almost all matters, Jack represents the id
of ones personality he supports the notion that ones desires are most
important and should be followed, regardless of reason or morals.
Jack is the kind of person which Golding
believed everyone would eventually become if left alone to set ones own standards
and live the way one naturally wanted. Golding believed that the natural state of humans
is chaos and that man is inherently evil. When reason is abandoned, only the strong
survive. Jack personifies this idea perfectly.
Piggy: Piggy is described by Golding as short and very fat.
Its no coincidence that Piggys nickname is such; the overwhelming emotion Jack
and his hunters have to "kill the pig" is an indirect and clever author metaphor
to suggest the boys are also killing a part of Piggy. In fact, while Jack and his gang
continue to kill more pigs, the logic and reason which Piggy symbolizes progressively
diminishes with the pigs. Piggys hair never grows, suggesting that he is not
vulnerable to the progression of savagery the other boys seem to be drawn towards.
Piggy represents the law and order of the
adult world. He is the superego, the part of mans personality which attempts to act
according to an absolute set of standards. Throughout the novel, Piggy attempts to
condition the island society to mirror the society they all lived in in England.
Piggys continual references to his auntie demonstrate this philosophy. He tries to
pull Ralph towards the reason-oriented side of human nature.
Piggy is obsessed with the signal-fire.
This is because he wants to return to England where adults are, but also because the fire
is one of the only symbols of order on the island. When the fire goes out, Piggy mentally
Ralph: Ralph is the main
protagonist of the novel; he has fair hair and is very tall and thin. Jack is the only
other character who is close in physical stature to Ralph. This is appropriate since these
characters represent two competing philosophies of life on the island.
Golding uses Ralph do represent the
perfect human someone who does good but isnt so out-of-touch that he
cant relate to normal human temptations. This is the Ralph of the beginning of the
novel. Later, however, Ralph grows distant from Piggy, the good side, and grows closer to
Jack, the anarchical side of human nature.
In his way, Ralph represents the ego of
the human personality. He must compromise both the id (the if it feels good do
it attitude of Jack) and the superego (the strict adherence to the logic and order
of the adult world symbolized through Piggy).
After Piggys death, Ralph finds it
impossible to determine what action to take next. This goes along with Goldings view
that if left alone, human nature will naturally be pulled to the id side of ones
Roger: Roger becomes a
self-proclaimed torturer and executioner for Jack and the rest of the tribe. Even at the
beginning of the book when Roger throws stones at Henry, Golding shows that the seed of
anarchy has taken root and is spreading in the hunters mind. Roger symbolizes
mans natural tendency to cause harm to others.
Sam & Eric: These twins represent the need humans have for moral support from
others. Sam and Eric are so connected that they must do everything together. As soon as
one of them takes an action, the other follows. Both twins respect Ralph because he offers
them a sense of security. Sam n Erics main job throughout the novel is to tend
Soon, however, when the sense of security
Ralph provides is threatened by Jack and his hunters, Samneric decide to join Jacks
tribe (after they are threatened). Later, they even betray Ralph, showing his hiding place
to the others. In this way, Samneric symbolize the weakness of human nature. When really
pressed, these twins decide to join the dark side.
Simon: Simon is described
by Golding as one of the in-between boys-- a "skinny, vivid little boy" with
straight, coarse black hair. Simon shares the experiences of both the littluns and the
older boys. He has the innocent perceptions and feelings of littluns but the knowledge of
However, Simon is alienated from the rest
of the group. He takes life much more seriously than the others, being plagued with a
certain moral consciousness which the other boys dont understand. Simon has a
heightened perception, even more so than Piggy. Simon is unique because he can actually
hear the voice of the beast. He realizes that the beast is not something one can kill
because its inside the boys.
Most importantly, Simon makes the
connection between the dead parachutist and the Lord of the Flies. He understands that
with the death of the man in the parachute which symbolizes the death of reason, the chaos
of the Lord of the Flies is free to reign supreme.
Lastly, Simon is seen as a Christ figure.
He gives up his own life in an attempt to tell the rest of the boys about the beast. Yet
when he crawls out of the forest, Jack and his hunters see him as the beast, and murder
his body which floats out to sea.