Ralph’s concerns are about fresh water, using the lavatory, building shelters, and safe use of fire. He also wants the group to stay together.
Ralph decides they need an assembly , but not for fun. They need “to put things straight.” Ralph tells the boys that they goof off at the assemblies but they only talk about things and never get anything done. Ralph has a list of concerns.
His first concern is that there is no fresh water. The boys agreed that they would bring fresh water, but they never do.
His second concern is that they have not built shelters together.
“…We all built the first one, four of us the second one, and me ’n Simon built the last one over there. That’s why it’s so tottery… That shelter might fall down if the rain comes back. We’ll need those shelters then.” (Ch. 5)
It is important that they all work together to build the shelters, but discipline tends to break down and the boys never get anything done.
Ralph’s next concern is that the boys agreed to “rocks right along beyond the bathing pool as a lavatory” because the tide “cleans the place up” so it is more sanitary. Unfortunately, some of them have gotten more lazy, and started to “use anywhere.”
He also explains that the fire is the most important thing on the island, and they need to watch it and keep it going and avoid setting the island on fire. He sums everything up as follows.
“So remember. The rocks for a lavatory. Keep the fire going and smoke showing as a signal. Don’t take fire from the mountain. Take your food up there.” (Ch. 5)
Jack tries to take the conch from him, but he isn’t finished. He says that they were happy until talk of the beast started, and now they are starting to break up. Ralph is worried that there is descent in the group, but he is not sure how to say it.
This meeting is a perfect example of both Jack and Ralph’s personalities and leadership styles. Ralph gives the boys a laundry list of rules and valid concerns, and Jack inspires them with talk of the beast and hunting. Jack takes advantage of this to turn the meeting to his advantage, reminding them that he is a hunter and that the fear can’t hurt them. Jack does not know it, but he is trying to use fear to split them, just as Ralph is trying to unite them.