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In chapter eight when Jack calls the meeting to usurp Ralph's role as chief, he calls for a vote among the boys:
"'Who thinks Ralph oughtn't to be chief?'
He looked expectantly at the boys ranged round, who had frozen. Under the palms there was a deadly silence'" (127).
None of the boys vocalize their support for Jack as chief or voice any sort of disapproval for Ralph's leadership thus far. Jack, embarrassed, declares that he's "not going to play any longer" and storms off (127). Is the boys' silence in the face of Jack's demand really a show of support for Ralph's authority?
Not necessarily, rather the boys' silence should really be viewed as cowardice more than anything else. In past confrontations between Ralph and Jack, the boys have quielty observed the two to see what would happen between them; none of the boys are really bold enough to put themselves forward enough to venture into the conflict between Ralph and Jack. Their actions matter more than what is said at any meeting, and when given the opportunity, the majority of the older boys leave Ralph to join Jack's camp as hunters and savages, choosing to hunt and be carefree, rather than follow Ralph's rules and tend the signal fire. Even then, they avoid confrontation with Ralph and slink away from the beach, as if they are ashamed to let Ralph know that they would rather join Jack; the boys leave without saying a word.
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