In Chapter 3, what two groups with differing goals are emerging?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In chapter 3 of Lord of the Flies, there is an emerging disparity between the two divisions of boys as the one group led by Ralph employs reason and civilized activities that extend to anticipated needs while the other group led by Jack operates on the use of force, primordial urges, and immediate needs.

In one of the earliest meetings, Ralph outlines the plan for keeping the rescue fire burning, and Jack concurs with the idea, only saying that at night they could let the fire burn out since no one would see smoke at night. Then, Roger takes the conch and looked around at the boys "gloomily." He casts a pall over the meeting as he says, "I've been watching the sea. There hasn't been the trace of a ship. Perhaps we'll never be rescued." It would seem, then, that those like Roger feel that they should live more for the moment than prepare for a future that is unlikely to occur.

In chapter 3, Jack is absorbed in the hunt for a pig. He spots the droppings and tries to follow the animal's path. When he arouses a bird from its nest, the silence is shattered. 

Jack himself shrank at this cry with a hiss of indrawn breath, and for a minute became less a hunter than a furtive thing, ape-like among the tangle of trees. Then the trail claimed him again and he searched the ground avidly. 

After he spots the pig, it manages to scurry away. A frustrated Jack pushes his way through the creepers to where he hears voices. Ralph and Simon are trying to construct a shelter, and Jack asks if there is any water. As Jack drinks greedily, Ralph explains that other than Simon, the boys have run off to bathe, play, or eat. "They're hopeless. The older ones aren't much better." As Ralph speaks of the need for shelters, Jack mentions the need for meat, and "the antagonism was audible."

It is now that the two groups of boys begin to form. As Jack speaks of the experience of hunting the pigs in which he almost feels as though he is the one hunted, Ralph is "incredulous and faintly indignant." His reply to Jack is "The best thing we can do is get ourselves rescued."

As Ralph speaks of the rescue fire and how to improve and sustain it on the mountain, Jack looks at the mountain and suddenly has the idea that the pigs must go there during the heat of the day: "Indignation took away Ralph's control." He tells Jack that he was speaking of being rescued while all Jack wants to discuss is hunting pigs. "They faced each other on the bright beach, astonished at the rub of feeling." The animosity that emerges is the beginning of the divide between the boys. From then on, the boys separate into those with Ralph as the leader and the hunters, whose leader is Jack.

bmadnick eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Ralph and Jack disagree over what's most important to take care of right away. Ralph sees the need for organization and taking care of immediate needs, such as building huts. He's frustrated that no one else is helping him and Simon build the huts. Jack isn't concerned about anything but hunting. He doesn't even make the others go by the rules, not paying attention to order. Ralph believes the only way to get things done is in groups, while Jack's only concern is what he can achieve on his own. Ralph wants to keep the fire lit so they can be rescued. Jack is already tired of responsibility and just wants to kill a pig.

By the end of this chapter, Ralph and Jack are at odds since Ralph wants to keep the group civilized, but Jack is becoming more savage with his hunting. The way the two boys look at each other foreshadows the trouble between them. "They looked at each other, baffled, in love and hate. All the warm salt water of the bathing pool and the shouting and splashing and laughing were only just sufficient to bring them together again." 

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Lord of the Flies

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