In Lord of the Flies, chapter 12, what is the indefinable connection between Ralph and Jack?

The indefinable connection between Ralph and Jack in Lord of the Flies lies in the conflicting goals each boy represents. While Jack is bloodthirsty and savage, Ralph longs for order and peace. Ralph realizes that he is the one person left who impedes Jack's desire to rule the island with savage authority.

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This observation comes near the end of the novel. Simon and Piggy are dead: Ralph, limping around, is largely isolated from the other boys on the island. He wishes Jack would simply forget about him and leave him alone, rather than continuing to hunt him. However, Ralph realizes that...

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This observation comes near the end of the novel. Simon and Piggy are dead: Ralph, limping around, is largely isolated from the other boys on the island. He wishes Jack would simply forget about him and leave him alone, rather than continuing to hunt him. However, Ralph realizes that because of their "indefinable connection," Jack will never let go.

While an indefinable connection is by definition difficult to pin down, we can locate some of its characteristics. From the start, both Ralph and Jack have shown leadership abilities and a desire to be leaders. Both are willing to step to the forefront and impose their wills on other, be it through democracy and persuasion or through savagery and tyranny. Both can be stubborn when challenged.

Further, although it makes him very uncomfortable to acknowledge it, Ralph knows—and has shown—that he can be allured by the desire for savagery and bloodlust that drives Jack and his followers. He enjoys the bloodlust of the hunt, too, and though he is ashamed now, he was caught up in the frenzy of murdering Simon under the illusion that Simon was the beast.

Because Ralph shares some of Jack's aggressive and atavistic characteristics, he understands that his rival, growing ever more savage, will go "further and further." Jack will "never let him alone; never," because of the urge to triumph, win, and have control.

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The indefinable connection between Jack and Ralph is that they both involved in a fight over the other boys' souls. The small, remote island on which they've crash-landed isn't big enough for the both of them. This is because they represent radically different leadership styles, with diametrically opposing visions of how the island should be run.

Ralph is a democrat who wants to establish a rules-based order on the island. Jack, by contrast, is angling to become an absolute dictator over the other boys, a dictatorship he intends to enforce by the most savage methods imaginable. These two competing personalities, these two radically different visions of social and political organization, can never be reconciled.

Yet Ralph and Jack still somehow find themselves joined together in a dance of death that can only end in one of the boys being destroyed by the other. This is the "indefinable connection" that, paradoxically, joins them together while at the same time keeping them apart. Ralph and Jack sense deep down that they are engaged in a titanic struggle for supremacy, an epic battle to the death over the souls of the other boys. In that sense, if no other, they are on the same wavelength. There is an "indefinable connection" between them.

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Early in the story, Jack seeks the power of being the leader of their group, and he fails in this quest. Interestingly, it is noted that he is a more natural leader than Ralph:

None of the boys could have found good reason for this; what intelligence had been shown was traceable to Piggy while the most obvious leader was Jack.

After losing this first election, Jack never relinquishes his quest. He uses food and a growing sense of anarchy to his advantage, slowly pulling more boys in his direction and away from Ralph's leadership as they face conflicts on the island.

Ralph stands in direct opposition to all Jack longs for. While Jack seeks glory, power, and savagery, Ralph represents order, democracy, and peace. Jack understands that as long as Ralph is alive, he can never fully control all the boys on the island. Ralph is the final holdout—the one person whom Jack cannot sway to fall under his rule.

This is their indefinable connection, a juxtaposition of order and chaos seeking to define the laws of the island. It is impossible to balance these two competing forms of leadership on one singular island, and Ralph realizes that Jack's lust for blood and chaos will never be quenched until he eliminates Ralph as the one thing standing against him.

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"Then there was that indefinable connection between himself and Jack; who therefore would never let him alone; never" (184).

Jack and Ralph are easy companions early on in the story.  They climb the mountain together with Simon, and there is a definite sense of camaraderie between the two older and more athletic boys.  As Ralph is chosen for chief, however, and Jack is overlooked, their companionship falls into rivalry.  Jack seems determined to prove his superiority over Ralph in terms of hunting, leadership, and popularity with the other boys. 

Merridew was used to being in charge like when he was head chorus boy and does not like to be second best.  Jack will not let Ralph alone, because he is driven to prove his dominance over the other boy.  Ralph is a threat to his being chief, and because of this insecurity, Jack will not rest until Ralph's threatening presence on the island is effectively removed.

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