In chapter four of William Golding's Lord of the Flies, the author's contrast of Ralph's and Jack's demeanor in the paragraph beginning "With some positive action before them..." serves to: a....

In chapter four of William Golding's Lord of the Flies, the author's contrast of Ralph's and Jack's demeanor in the paragraph beginning "With some positive action before them..." serves to:

a. Highlight Ralph's passivity and Jack's assertiveness

b. Reinforce Ralph's isolation and Jack's bond with the other boys

c. Stress the powerlessness of Ralph's position and the strength of Jack's

d. Symbolize the uniqueness of each of the boys

e. Reveal that the conflict between the two has not really been solved

Asked on by Erika015

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Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Jack and Ralph are two of the major characters in William Golding's Lord of Flies, and they have very little in common. In chapter four Golding contrasts them in this passage:

With some positive action before them, a little of the tension died. Ralph said no more, did nothing, stood looking down at the ashes round his feet. Jack was loud and active. He gave orders, sang, whistled, threw remarks at the silent Ralph—remarks that did not need an answer, and therefore could not invite a snub; and still Ralph was silent. No one, not even Jack, would ask him to move and in the end they had to build the fire three yards away and in a place not really as convenient. So Ralph asserted his chieftainship and could not have chosen a better way if he had thought for days. Against this weapon, so indefinable and so effective, Jack was powerless and raged without knowing why. By the time the pile was built, they were on different sides of a high barrier.

The signal fire has gone out and it it Jack's fault. Jack knows it, Ralph knows it, and all the other boys know it. Though Jack blusters and carries on, Ralph is immovable. In fact, he stands his ground so terribly that, by common consent, the boys decide to move the fire rather than asking Ralph to move. This is not a display of cowardice or reticence on Ralph's part but an indication of strength. 

The last two sentences reveal the answer to your question. Jack is furious, though he cannot explain why since he was at fault, and "by the time the fire was built, they [Jack and Ralph] were on different sides of a high barrier." The rift between them has grown wider and the conflict has grown stronger. The answer is E. 

Sources:

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