The conflict of authority between Ralph and Jack surfaces over the beast and the fire. How does Jack assert his authority?

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danylyshen eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The conflict of authority and who shall rule dominates the novel. In the first instance, concerning the beast, both Ralph and Jack decide to go after it together. Jack is by far the more aggressive one, thinking that if there is a living, breathing beast, he and his hunters will be able to kill it. Ralph goes along because he is scared and believes there's greater safety in numbers.

The signal fire is another topic of contention between the two. Each of these two see "fire" as two very different things. Ralph sees the fire as a way to keep them warm and to signal people so that they can be rescued. To Ralph, the fire is security. Jack embraces the destructive nature of fire and sees it as a way of preparing the meat he kills and for facilitating the wild savage dance the hunters do around it. Ralph often tries to convince all the other boys by reason; Jack aggressively takes and dares others to stand in his way. Jack is a warrior-king; Ralph is a politician.

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Lord of the Flies

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