Explain the major conflict between Ralph and Jack regarding hunting and the signal fire in Lord of the Flies.What does it show and how does it show their character and ideas?

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teachertaylor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Chapter 4 "Painted Faces and Long Hair," Ralph and Jack have a major conflict regarding hunting and the signal fire.  In Chapter 2, Jack tells Ralph that he and his hunters will be responsible for maintaining the signal fire.  Ralph accepts this offer and assumes that Jack will fulfill this responsibility.  However, as the novel progresses, Jack and his hunters find that their priorities lie elsewhere.  When a ship passes the island, the fire has gone out and Jack and his hunters are off chasing pigs through the forest.  When confronted, Jack says that the boys should give up hope of getting off the island and settle for trying to find effective ways to survive on the island.  Jack believes that hunting is a better use of their time.

Through this conflict, Ralph and Jack show that their ideas about survival differ.  For Ralph, the boys' survival depends on being rescued by adults and returned to their former lives.  Jack, on the other hand, believes that the boys are strong enough to survive on their own.  The boys represent both ends of the spectrum, dependence and independence, and neither considers the more likely solutions in the middle ground.

chocolate975 | Student

Thank you very much!

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Lord of the Flies

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