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What does Ralph ask Jack that is so significant in Chapter seven of Lord of the...

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tylerpaige | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 3, 2011 at 6:20 AM via web

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What does Ralph ask Jack that is so significant in Chapter seven of Lord of the Flies?

Do you think Ralph is correct in this assumption?

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luannw | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted January 3, 2011 at 8:53 PM (Answer #1)

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Ralph asks Jack, "Why do you hate me?"  Ralph realizes that Piggy was right; Jack would hurt him (Piggy) if it weren't for Ralph because Jack hates anyone who challenges his authority.  Piggy challenges it by asking questions requiring logical thought.  Ralph also challenges Jack's authority by being reasonable.  Jack doesn't want to bother with reason and logic; he just wants to be in charge and feared.  Jack realizes that the boys have elected Ralph their leader because Ralph is nicer and is more level-headed, thus more adult-like.  Jack does not possess those qualities and he is jealous of Ralph.  Ralph's assumption that Jack hates him because he is more reasonable and more mature is correct.  Later in chapter 7, Jack hesitates as the boys search for the beast.  This is the first time Ralph has ever seen Jack hesitate and he realizes that Jack is afraid.  This also reveals the real Jack- the cowardly bully who wants to be dictator.

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MaudlinStreet | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted September 29, 2009 at 1:53 AM (Answer #2)

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Ralph asks Jack why he hates him. This question comes when they are discussing the pig-run that Jack had found when exploring this section of the island before. Jack tells him it goes all the way to the mountain, and Ralph decides they will smash through the jungle until they find it. There is tension between he and Jack over the shifting claim leadership, and it builds as they discuss the pig-run:

Ralph sighed, sensing the rising antagonism, understanding that this was how Jack felt as soon as he ceased to lead...

"I don't mind going," Jack said hotly. "I'll go when we get there. Won't you? Would you rather go back to the shelters and tell Piggy?"

Now it was Ralph's turn to flush but he spoke despairingly, out of the new understanding that Piggy had given him.

"Why do you hate me?"

The boys stirred uneasily. as though something indecent had been said. The silence lengthened.

Jack challenges Ralph's authority continually in this chapter. Here, he doubts Ralph's courage and calls his leadership into question, essentially telling Ralph to go wait at the shelters with the weak. Ralph is embarrassed, but he speaks the truth in asking Jack why he hates him. This brings to light all the animosity that has been brewing beneath the surface of their fragile friendship, & foreshadows the violence and cruelty that will overtake their society on the island.

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