Savage Behavior

Lord of the Flies Theme Analysis

Jack's inner animal

Jack is shown to be the most consumed by the savagery and animilistic behavior that descends upon the group. Considering he assumes a leadership role over the choir boys and others in the group, others are quickly influences by his behavior. He finds himself lost in his obsession with killing a pig and proving himself a worthy hunter. This obsession is shown when "He [tries] to convey the compulsion to track down and kill that was swallowing him up" (Golding 42). Jack is explicitly compared to an animal when he begins hunting, "... And for a minute became less a hunter than a furtive thing;, ape-like among the tangle of trees" (40). This comparison shows how he begins to almost devolve with the craving for a kill. His previously prim and proper exterior is replaced with an unrecognizable creatures as he is overcome by his survival instincts and darker desires.


  • The dead fire - represents the hope of rescue and return to civilization being smothered by the savagery. Ralph says to the group "'can't you see we ought to- ought to die before we let the fire out'" (69)? Ralph's desparation for the boys to understand their situation shows the way that the others are letting the excitement of lawlessness and freedom keep them from accepting the consequences of their actions. Ralph would rather die than let the fiendish thing inside of him make him forget the person he wants to be. The fire is the hope that burns inside of them, and those in charge of keeping it lit were the ones who chose savagery over rescue.
  • The struggle for the conch- represents the struggle between the light and dark dichotomy on the island. At their assembly there was " ... A moments struggle and the glimmering conch jiggled up and down" (79). As the conch represents democracy and lawfulness, the struggle between piggy (an "innocent") and Jack (the "savage") symbolizes the society crumbling into either a savage wasteland or remaining a diplomatic community. Jack's descent into savagery is made obvious by his attempt to take the highly symbolic conch and use it to his advantage, to lead the other boys into his chaotic paradise.