Chapter five delves into the contrasting approaches to governance of Ralph and Jack. Ralph is a deliberate, logical thinker who considers many different facets of a situation before acting. He understands that strong leadership and at least the appearance of democratic consensus will be necessary to maintain an orderly society in the absence of adults to impose rules. Jack is impulsive and lacks the ability to plan far ahead; he is concerned with instant gratification. He does not care about having the respect of the other children. Jack wants to exert power over the rest of the group and resents Ralph for having quickly gained the authority he craves. By this point in the novel, the younger children’s fear of the beast has become a problem, and Jack seeks to exploit their fear for his own gain.
One aspect of civilization is the formal meetings that Ralph favors.
The time had come for the assembly and as he [Ralph] walked ... he went carefully over the points of his speech.
This meeting must not be business, not fun. Ralph also recognizes the complex relationship between intellect and leadership: Piggy has the former quality, while he has the latter.
The trouble was, if you were a chief you had to think, you had to be wise. And then the occasion slipped by so that you had to grab at a decision. This made you think; because thought was a valuable thing, that got results ...
Only, decided Ralph as he faced the chief's seat, I can't think. Not like Piggy ... Piggy could think. He could go step by step inside that fat head of his, only Piggy was no chief. But Piggy, for all his ludicrous body, had brains.
In the assembly, Ralph carefully lays out the problems that have arisen, including the shelters, the campsite’s dirtiness, and especially the fire. He insists that the fire is more important than killing any pig. Ralph also insists that they confront their fears in order to set them aside.
"We've got to talk about this fear and decide there's nothing in it.”
When Piggy gains the conch and speaks, he expands on this idea. He logically refutes the impossibility of a beast being on the island, stating his faith in science.
“Life," said Piggy expansively, "is scientific, that's what it is.”
As long as the boys continue to observe the agreed-upon rules, speaking when they have the conch, some semblance of civilization is maintained. As Jack increasingly derides Ralph’s authority and the democratic process, a savage state grows nearer.
But Jack was shouting against him.
"Bollocks to the rules! We're strong—we hunt! If there's a beast, we'll hunt it down!
We'll close in and beat and beat and beat—!"
He gave a wild whoop and leapt down to the pale sand. At once the platform was full of noise and excitement, scramblings, screams and laughter. The assembly shredded away and became a discursive and random scatter.