The purpose of this essay is to compare and contrast the two novels by focusing
on leadership and group dynamics. First, I explain some general terms like
primary and secondary groups, leader and leadership, and five different
leadership styles (autocratic, democratic, laissez-faire, task-motivated and
relationship-motivated leader), and then I apply the terms to the novels. In the
analysis I examine how some followers and group constellations react to different
kinds of leadership, and how the three leaders choose to approach their roles and
why they become successful or not.
The effect the democratic leadership has on both leaders and followers differs
between the novels. Homer in Tomorrow, When the War Began trusts his leadership
skills and gets appreciation from the primary group of friends he leads, while
Ralph in Lord of the Flies is disobeyed and challenged by his secondary group.
The group of teenagers grows stronger together, while the island boys disband as a
result of the power struggle between Ralph and Jack. The latter trusts his charisma
and threatens and punishes the boys in order to keep them under control. Jack
seems successful as an autocratic leader, since his followers carry out his orders
and let him be the unquestioned leader, but he is in the final analysis unsuccessful
since he fails to put the needs of his followers before his own strong desire for
power. Both Homer and Jack are strong leaders of their own primary group, and
one argument why they are more successful than Ralph is the loyalty they receive
from their followers. However, the reason for their faithfulness differs. In
Homer’s case it is friendship, and in Jack’s case it is fear of what he will do to
them if they defy him.