The Red Dollar | Teen Ink

The Red Dollar

March 12, 2011
By Gettysburg63 PLATINUM, Waukesha, Wisconsin
Gettysburg63 PLATINUM, Waukesha, Wisconsin
23 articles 1 photo 42 comments

Favorite Quote:
"If you are going to win any battle, you have to do one thing. You have to make the mind run the body. Never let the body tell the mind what to do... the body is never tired if the mind is not tired." -General George S. Patton

Blood, the red liquid that courses though all of our veins. Currency, the green paper that courses through our minds. We in the civilized world place the highest value on solid currency, because there is very little you can actually obtain with blood in the civilized world, except maybe a complementary cookie and juice after you donate blood. Though in the novel The Lord of the Flies blood was as good as gold. Blood gave to the children what money gives to the civilized world, like leadership, more options, and most importantly respect. Blood rapidly became currency of the island and Jack would invest a great deal.

Although Jack eventually grasped hold of power on the island, Ralph was a true leader from the moment the plane crashed off the island. His leadership style was structured, listening to others, and getting results. His currency set for the island was not money, nor would it be blood, but rather reason. He was a leader from the civilized world, but the rules that applied there were soon forgotten on the uncivilized island. These same rules that have taken the concrete jungle society thousands of years to make were broken down in a matter of weeks in a tropical jungle because Jack’s tribe only thought about survival and savagery and had no room for morality. Jack emerged as the leader of the group as time went along on this new primitive world as the boys themselves became more primitive. He then set his government currency as blood, starting with his pig hunts. The more of the pigs’ blood he shed, the more he was respected because he gave the children what they desired, meat, and thus bribed his way into power. The tribe would not be allowed to forget what jack provided, constantly reminding the tribe of what he did, saying things like, “I painted my face- I stole up. Now you eat- all of you- and I-”(67). The more blood Jack could shed, the firmer his position in power, by use of fear tactics for some members of his tribe, or for others like Roger, to just keep them occupied with “the hunt” so his leadership would not be put to question. Jack influenced his tribe’s currency of bloodshed so effectively, a common chant among his tribe was "'Kill the pig! Cut his throat! Kill the pig! Bash him in!”(104). Jack even painted his face with blood, showing his close relation with blood as some had with money in the civilized world. The blood Jack shed to gain leadership was not only subjected to pigs, but also to Ralph, whose blood was intended to be shed. In return for Ralph’s currency of blood, Jack would have bought total control of the island without question.

Ralph was the last bastion on the island who in the end actually did not use blood as a currency. Even though his efforts appeared to be futile, being greatly outnumbered, and his only option left seemed to be surrender; he kept with his firm belief of using reason and knowledge as his form of currency as he says to Jack, “You‘re a beast and a swine and a bloody, bloody thief”(74) . An example of this is the profound thinkers of the island, both Simon and Piggy, were loyal to Ralph until their deaths. In the end though the majority, Jack and his tribe, overruled the minority of the island, Ralph. Reason would no longer be accepted as currency by island, but rather blood to suffice its hunger. Ralph’s use of reason as money was no longer acceptable because it didn’t give the promised results of the tribe being rescued, while Jack gave his promised results to the tribe for meat and bloodlust fun.

Our grasp of the idea of currency depends on many factors. Basically, it can be whatever we want it to be. Blood just happened to be it on the island serving the tribe’s savage wants. Jack was their blood-faced leader who also had blood in mind. He sold the blood of others for power, so much so that power coursed through his veins.

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