In Lord of the Flies, what does Jack want to make on the cliffs, and how does Ralph react to this idea?

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amarang9 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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In Chapter 6, when they reach the cliffs, Jack wants to make a fort. Ralph mentions that the landscape around the cliffs is useless. There's no fresh water and no way to get food. Ralph suggests they go back to the shelter. Then Ralph notices that there is no smoke signal coming off the mountain. Some of the other boys start rolling rocks off the cliffs. Ralph thinks rolling rocks and building a fort is a waste of time. He still has his mind set on being rescued, which depends upon the smoke signal. As for the signal, Jack says, "You're nuts on the signal." Ralph says, "That's all we've got." The chapter ends with Ralph becoming completely frustrated that the majority of the boys would rather mess around with rocks and forts than keep the fire going in hopes of being rescued: 

"I’m chief. We’ve got to make certain. Can’t you see the mountain? There’s no signal showing. There may be a ship out there. Are you all off your rockers?”