Jack Merridew: The Descent into Savagery

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About this sample

About this sample


Words: 566 |

Page: 1|

3 min read

Published: Jun 13, 2024

Words: 566|Page: 1|3 min read

Published: Jun 13, 2024

Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Jack's Initial Presentation
  3. The Gradual Descent
  4. The Complete Transformation
  5. Body Paragraph 4: Thematic Significance
  6. Conclusion


William Golding's Lord of the Flies presents a compelling exploration of human nature through its characters, none more intriguing and complex than Jack Merridew. Initially introduced as a disciplined choir leader, Jack's character undergoes a radical transformation, unraveling the thin veneer of civilization to reveal the primal instincts lurking beneath. This essay aims to analyze Jack Merridew's character, examining the factors that contribute to his descent into savagery and the thematic significance of his transformation within the narrative.

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Jack's Initial Presentation

At the novel's outset, Jack Merridew is portrayed as a figure of authority and discipline. As the head of the choirboys, he exudes confidence and commands respect. His initial insistence on maintaining order and structure is evident when he leads his choir in military-like formation. Jack's early behavior aligns with the societal norms and expectations of leadership, suggesting a character grounded in the values of civilization. This initial portrayal sets the stage for the dramatic contrast that unfolds as the story progresses.

The Gradual Descent

Jack's transformation begins subtly, marked by his increasing obsession with hunting. The act of hunting symbolizes a departure from the structured, civilized world Jack once upheld. His initial hesitance and failure to kill a pig during the early attempts highlight his lingering connection to societal norms. However, this hesitation quickly dissipates as Jack becomes more engrossed in the primal thrill of the hunt. The face paint he dons serves as a mask, liberating him from the constraints of identity and morality, allowing his savage instincts to surface. This shift is a pivotal moment, illustrating the powerful allure of primal instincts and the ease with which civilization can erode.

The Complete Transformation

As Jack's obsession with power and control intensifies, he becomes increasingly antagonistic towards Ralph, the elected leader who represents order and civilization. Jack's desire for dominance leads to the formation of his own tribe, where he rules through fear and intimidation. The once disciplined choir leader is now a tyrant, reveling in the chaos and violence that ensue. His complete embrace of savagery is epitomized in the brutal killing of the sow and the frenzied dance that follows. Jack's actions not only signify his personal descent but also catalyze the overall disintegration of the group's social order.

Body Paragraph 4: Thematic Significance

Jack Merridew's character arc serves as a microcosm of the novel's broader themes, particularly the inherent darkness within human nature and the fragile nature of civilization. Through Jack, Golding illustrates how quickly societal norms can disintegrate when individuals are removed from the structures that enforce them. His transformation underscores the novel's exploration of the duality of human nature, the constant tension between the civilized self and the primal instincts that lie beneath. Jack's descent into savagery is not merely a personal downfall but a commentary on the potential for barbarism that exists within all humans.

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In conclusion, Jack Merridew's character in Lord of the Flies provides a profound exploration of the thin line between civilization and savagery. From a disciplined choir leader to a tyrannical savage, Jack's transformation highlights the fragility of social order and the inherent darkness within human nature. His descent is a powerful reminder of the latent potential for chaos that resides within all individuals, waiting to be unleashed in the absence of societal constraints. Through Jack's character, Golding offers a bleak yet compelling commentary on the human condition, making Lord of the Flies a timeless exploration of the complexities of human nature.

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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

Cite this Essay

Jack Merridew: The Descent into Savagery. (2024, Jun 12). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 21, 2024, from
“Jack Merridew: The Descent into Savagery.” GradesFixer, 12 Jun. 2024,
Jack Merridew: The Descent into Savagery. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 21 Jul. 2024].
Jack Merridew: The Descent into Savagery [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Jun 12 [cited 2024 Jul 21]. Available from:
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