Up to Chapter 4 in "Lord of the Flies", what is the nature of the conflict between Ralph and Jack?

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ms-mcgregor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The main conflict between Ralph and Jack is over who is going to be the leader of the boys. Ralph, a natural leader, wins the first round by being voted chief by the other boys. However, Ralph, being too idealistic and naive, proves to be an ineffectual leader. He underestimates Jack and assumes Jack, as well as the rest of the boys, will simply follow his instructions. When the boys resist Ralph's orders to build huts, Ralph simply complains. This allows Jack, who is more cunning, to move in. His first move is to become leader of the hunters, thus preserving some kind of power base for himself. Although it takes some time for Jack to move away from the constraints of civilization, Jack finds he can free himself from those constraints and moral responsibility by painting his face and completely obscuring any remnants of his old self. He is not yet able to stand up to Ralph, but easily preys on the more vulnerable Piggy and becomes more and more authoritarian as he orders the boys around. Thus the stage is being set for the final confrontation between Ralph and Jack over the kind of leadership the boys will have.

dbello eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The question is more effective if asked this way... what conflict arises between the natures of Ralph and Jack? The answer lies in their "political" frame of reference. Their common denominator...survival, their approach, to insure survival, which is completely different. Who is right? Who is wrong? The point is this...  power is a funny thing. Some human beings, for example Ralph, use power to accomplish what is best for a society.Others, like Jack become consumed with power, thus bringing out the very worst that man has to offer. Humanity is capable of both, the question is which is more humane and which will ultimately prevail????????

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Lord of the Flies

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