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As one would expect, there are conflicts aplenty when a group of boys are stranded on an island with no supplies and no adult supervision. The chief conflicts arise between Ralph and Jack, the two oldest boys. Ralph is elected the leader, a role Jack desperately wanted, and the two boys assume a power struggle for most of the novel. Ralph believes that a signal fire and constructing adequate shelters are the most important labors; Jack becomes addicted to the bloodlust of the hunt, using this vice as his argument that fresh meat is most important. Ralph's primary ally is Piggy, the most intelligent boy on the island; but Piggy's physical appearance--he is fat and nearly blind without his glasses--will not allow Ralph to take him seriously. Jack's desire for power and control lead him to murder, and he is perfectly willing to kill those who do not recognize him as their leader. There is the fearful presence of the beast; only Simon is brave enough to tackle it head-on, but before he can assure the other boys that it is nothing to fear, he is murdered--mistakened by the boys for the beast itself. Conflict arises around the conch shell--the lone symbol of democracy and civilized behavior; but it restricts Jack's quest for complete control, and when it is destroyed, the last vestiges of ethical human behavior go with it.
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