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By the end of the novel, Jack Merridew is on the war path with only one objective in mind: Ralph. He and his hunters sweep the jungle looking for their former chief. When Jack discovers the dense thicket where Ralph might be hiding, he orders the hunters to release a boulder from the top of the hill at Castle Rock to come crashing through the woods with the hope of flushing Ralph out.
When Jack's first attempt fails, he devises another devious plan intended to make Ralph run--the hunters light the thicket on fire. Ralph hears it first, unsure to make of the "curious trickling and then a lower crepitation as if someone were unwrapping great sheets of cellophane" (194). Ironically, Jack's fire tactic does succeed in rousting Ralph from his hiding place, but it is also this same blaze that is spotted by the naval ship which results in Ralph's salvation and rescue.
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