In Chapter 4, what definite stand does Ralph make?

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rmhope's profile pic

rmhope | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

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In Chapter 4, Jack succeeds in killing a pig, but in order to do so, he draws away the boys who were supposed to be tending the signal fire, and the fire goes out. It couldn't have happened at a worse time because a ship was passing the island. When Ralph realizes that Jack has been responsible for their failure to be rescued, he is furious. During Jack's moment of triumph, Ralph must discipline Jack for his grave mistake. The excitement of killing the pig and the prospect of meat has taken most of the boys' attention away from being rescued. Ralph reprimands Jack soundly, and Jack takes out his anger on Piggy, punching him and breaking his glasses. Now Ralph also needs to discipline Jack for his violent behavior at a time when the other boys are admiring Jack's strength. He shouts at Jack, "That was a dirty trick!" Jack apologizes, and suddenly the boys perceive Jack to be the gracious one and "Ralph, obscurely, in the wrong."

Ralph reiterates his verbal reprimand, then commands Jack to "light the fire." Ralph is standing amid the ashes of the previous signal fire. He does not move, requiring the boys to build the fire about three yards away from where it had been. No one dares to ask him to move. This physical display of strength and power is actually equal to or more effective than Jack's displays. In this way, "Ralph asserted his chieftainship and could not have chosen a better way if he had thought on it for days." Even Jack was "powerless" against Ralph's display of authority.

Although Ralph wins this power struggle, it creates a permanent rift between him and Jack and creates a strong alliance between Ralph and Piggy.

cmcqueeney's profile pic

cmcqueeney | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

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In this chapter, Ralph takes a stand against Jack.  Ralph saw a ship and ran to see if the fire was going.  To his astonishment, the fire was out because those that should have been watching it left with Jack to hunt.  When they return, Ralph stands up to Jack and makes him rebuild the fire.  Ralph gains some respect in his leadership, but his stance against Jack sets up a permanent rift between the two of them.  None of the other boys seem to see the importance in the fire.

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