In Lord of the Flies, how do the others respond to Jack's suggestion that Ralph be replaced?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Jack makes his bid for power in Chapter Eight of this novel. Having called a meeting, he uses the opportunity to attack Ralph's leadership and abilities, clearly presenting himself as better than Ralph. However, when he asks the question, suggesting that he replace Ralph as leader, he does not receive the precise answer that he was hoping for, as he is met by a "deadly silence" emerging from the "frozen" boys:

The silence continued, breathlesss and heavy and full of shame.

Note the way that the silence is personified through the adjective "breathless," which heightens the awkwardness of this moment and identifies the way that this moment in the novel, far from being Jack's moment of victory, is actually representative of his defeat and "shame." Jack's response to this deafening silence likewise reinforces this, as he turns red and is unable to meet the eye of anybody else. The boys have shown their continued support for Ralph and his leadership, which also represents their implicit recognition of the savagery that drives Jack.

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