Jack

Outer characterization

Jack is the second main character in William Golding’s Lord of the Flies. He is the head of a choir and already has authority over the other choirboys. Initially, he wears a formal outfit including a black square cap and a long black cloak (p. 15): “Inside the floating cloak he was tall, thin, and bony: and his hair was red beneath the black cap. His face was crumpled and freckled, and ugly without silliness.” (p. 16)

Jack becomes increasingly dirty over the course of the novel and applies war-paint to himself. This allows him to act without self-consciousness as he becomes increasingly powerful and cruel. When he declares himself chief of a new tribe, he turns up “stark naked save for paint and a belt”, but “he was safe from shame or self-consciousness behind the mask of his paint” (p. 154).

Like Ralph, at the end of the novel his appearance is described from the naval officer’s perspective: “A little boy who wore the remains of an extraordinary black cap on his red hair” (p. 224). Here, readers are reminded that Jack is in fact just a c...

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