Describe the nature of the conflict between Jack and Ralph as suggested by: "two continents of experience and feeling unable to communicate."Find a link to the Bible/religion .Analyse characters,...

Describe the nature of the conflict between Jack and Ralph as suggested by: "two continents of experience and feeling unable to communicate."

Find a link to the Bible/religion .Analyse characters, themes and symbols. Explore the idea of darkness in mans heart.

Thanks :)

Expert Answers
amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

You've asked for an awful lot in a limited space.  I can begin by saying that Jack and Ralph are like two continents bumping up against each other and causing rifts like volcanos when techtontic plates push and shove.  They both want to be in control, but for different reasons.  Jack doesn't really believe the boys will be rescued.  He is all about controlling the boys by putting fear into them--he does this by punishing them verbally and physically when he perceives they've done something wrong, and also by fueling the whole "Beastie" thing.  He knows they feel safer in numbers, and this is how he keeps them loyal to him even though most of them don't like him.

Ralph, on the other hand, has the greater good of the group in mind.  He wants to rule democratically and through the sense of doing what's right.  He gets upset when the boys run off to play or hunt instead of collecting water, keeping watch on the signal fire, or building shelters.  He thinks the boys should do what is needed to secure safety and rescue before going off to satisfy the urge to let off a little steam by being the "boys" (not men as they are forced to grow up quickly living alone and fighting to survive on the island) they are.

Ralph symbolizes intelligence and reason, as does Piggy.  Simon symbolizes innocence.  Ironically, these are three boys on the island that Jack targets first.  His cruel and barbaric way of ruling requires that he murder innocence, reason and intelligence so that the other boys blindly follow him without question.  As far as a Biblical reference goes, Jack and Ralph are certainly not brothers, but you could compare them to Cain and Abel.  Cain, the jealous brother, murders Abel, the favorite. Abel's blood calls out to God to let him know he has been murdered.  It goes without saying that the boys elected Ralph by a landslide to be their leader in the beginning of the book.  He is kind, nurturing, and the "favorite" of the boys.  Jack does intend to murder him by having the boys hunt him down and setting the fire on the island to smoke him out.  The smoke, rather than Ralph's blood, calls out for help and is the reason the Navy ship arrives just in the nick of time to save Ralph's life.

Simon knew that the beast the boys needed to fear was within them all, not an external issue at all.  Unfortunately, he was unable to communicate this to the rest since they all jumped on him and murdered him without hesitation.  This speaks to the darkness of man's heart, as does the cruelty in Jack and Roger's leadership.  The horrible murder of Piggy is another example.

You will need to take these ideas and search further in the book to find more.  This is a good start, but it is difficult to address in detail everything you have listed here.  Good luck with your assignment!

Read the study guide:
Lord of the Flies

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