The crux of the disagreement between Ralph and Jack comes down to a matter of priorities. When Jack arrives at the scene where Ralph and Simon are hard at work trying to make shelter, Ralph is already disgruntled that none of the other boys are bothering to help. While Ralph clearly prioritizes the building of shelter, Jack seems to think that the need for food is more important. It is easy to argue, however, that Jack is focused on hunting due to the “compulsion to track down and kill” that has consumed him rather than the desire to help anybody in any way. Ralph is dissatisfied with Jack’s failure to have produced any meat from his hunting trip and implies that his time would be better spent helping with the shelter project.
The argument intensifies, and “the antagonism [becomes] audible” when Jack swears that he will successfully kill a pig during his next hunt. Remaining more level-headed, Ralph simply reminds Jack again of the need for shelter. He then begins to explain the importance of shelter to Jack, but it becomes apparent that Jack has a single-minded obsession with hunting. In fact, Jack prioritizes a successful hunt over rescue.
Ralph’s antagonism towards Jack grows stronger yet when Jack suddenly shouts, leading Ralph to think he has seen a ship, when in fact Jack has merely had an epiphany as to where he thinks the pigs might be. This once again showcases his fixation on hunting pigs, which is the source of his conflict with Ralph, who is focused on the need for shelter.