Good authors usually incorporate conflict into their stories. In Lord of the Flies, William Golding uses conflicts to develop the characterization of Jack throughout the story. Golding illustrates Jack through both internal and external conflicts.
Jack is defined through internal conflicts that he experiences. Jack and two other boys from the island had just encountered their first pig, “The three boys rushed forward and Jack drew his knife again with a flourish. He raised his arm in the air. There came a pause, a hiatus…” (Golding 31).
Jack paused because he was aware of his humanity and civilized life. Killing something outside of himself scared him. Even his physical features showed his uneasiness, “Jack’s face was white under the freckles” (31). The internal conflict Jack is having is causing him to develop a more savage characteristic. Jack’s fear of the amount of blood, the enormity of slaughtering a pig, and the embarrassment of his actions led to his desperate obsession with killing pigs and his over becomingness of bloodthirst for murder.
Jack’s internal conflict was described as a “compulsion to track down and kill that was swallowing him up” (51). Jack is correctly defined as a hunter, one who needs to kill and the power that goes along with it.
Jack was originally unable to blend in with his surroundings and kill the pig. Jack had brought colored clay and coal back to the boys and said, “For hunting. Like in the war. You know-dazzle paint. Like things trying to look like something else-” (63).
The warpaint masks his true identity and allows him to behave how he wants and gives him the freedom to act like a complete savage. After the next hunt, Jack starts chanting, “Kill the pig. Cut her throat. Spill her blood” (69). This allows him to take a step back from being civilized and thoughtlessly murder the pig. Jack uses the pig to allow himself to turn to savagery. Being able to kill the pig gives Jack more power and this feeling changes him.
The thirst for power is a driving force that helps to define Jack. Jack exhibits his power over the tribe when he can get them all to participate in his rituals. He suggests, “…get someone to dress up as a pig…” said Jack, “You want a real pig because you’ve got to kill him,” said Robert, “Use a littlun,” said Jack (115). Jack is turning into a savage and making jokes about killing people, and with all of his power, there is no one to stop him or get in his way. Jack’s only enemy was Ralph and to gain complete power he needed to eliminate him. Jack, “…had smoked him out and set the island on fire” (197). Instead of using fire for survival to cook food to get off of the island, he uses it to attack and gain power.
In conclusion, Jack is defined by his internal conflicts, the pig, and his thirst for power. At the beginning of the book, Jack was civilized, but throughout the story, the enormity of slaughtering a pig and the embarrassment of his actions led to his desperate obsession with killing pigs and his over becomingness of bloodthirst for murder. That combined with his need for power turned him into a complete savage. Not only did these conflicts change Jack and make him grow as a person, but they also made him realize what he can become because of them.