At the beginning of chapter two, Ralph is holding the conch. He is in charge at the moment. Chapter Two is entitled "Fire on the Mountain." Ralph informs the boys that a fire is needed to signal a ship that should happen to pass. At this point in the story, Jack is in agreement with Ralph. He takes the leadership of the fire:
The boys arrive on a platform on the mountain and Jack organizes the choir to the task. Working together the boys enthusiastically pile up dead and rotted wood for the fire. They amass a huge pile and pour on dead leaves for kindling. Piggy arrives too late to help. Against his wishes, Jack takes his glasses to use to light the fire.
Abruptly and in a rude manner, Jack takes Piggy's glasses without permission. Then Ralph takes Piggy's glasses from Jack and starts the fire. Although the fire is Ralph's idea, Jack runs with the idea and soon the fire is burning out of control.
Ralph is concerned that the fire is not producing enough smoke to signal a ship that may be passing. One of the boys suggests they use green branches.
During the time that the fire is burning out of control, the boy with the mulberry mark on his face disappears. The boys assume that he died in the fire.
Ralph tries maintain order. He suggests that they keep the fire ongoing at all times. Jack is in agreement with Ralph at this point:
Ralph takes the conch and reminds them of the need to constantly maintain the fire, and the need to maintain order and respect for the conch. Jack agrees with Ralph, saying “We’ve got to have rules and obey them. After all, we’re not savages. We’re English, and the English are the best at everything. So we’ve got to do the right things.”
Jack divides the choir members. Some will hunt and some will keep the fire going.
While Ralph is trying to maintain order, there is a breakdown of order by the end of chapter two:
However, by the end of the chapter, their well-intentioned plan has resulted in a horrible disaster.
Keeping the fire burning is going to prove to be a challenge in later chapters. The boys' chance for rescue will be lessened due to this fact. While the boys begin with good intentions, the responsibility of keeping the fire burning becomes too great for Jack and his choir boys. Jack would rather hunt with his mighty hunters.