What do Ralph and Jack disagree about in Chapter 3 of Lord of the Flies?
In Chapter 3, Ralph laments about the condition of the shelters that he and Simon have been building. Only one of the shelters is sturdy while the other two are shaky and in ruin. Ralph tells Jack that the other boys are off bathing, eating, and playing. Jack explains to Ralph that the boys need meat, and Ralph disagrees by arguing that shelter is more important. Ralph points out that the shelters are important because they serve as a protective home for the littluns who fear the beast. Jack even comments that when he is hunting, he feels as if something is hunting him. Ralph comments, "The best thing we can do is get ourselves rescued." (Golding 53) He then says, "So long as your hunters remember the fire---." Jack ignores Ralph's comment about the fire because he is thinking about ways to disguise himself while hunting. Jack runs off to the other side of the island in hopes of tracking down pigs.
Throughout the chapter, Ralph and Jack's opposite priorities are depicted. Ralph is concerned with the shelters and signal fire, which are essential for survival and rescue, while Jack is only concerned about hunting. Ralph is becoming frustrated by Jack's obsession with hunting and lack of assistance. Ralph is beginning to experience how difficult it is to be the leader, and a schism between the two characters is imminent.
Jack and Ralph disagree over leadership styles and the priorities of what must be done on the island. Ralph feels that building the shelters should be the group's biggest priority; he worries about the littluns who do not sleep well at night and the possibility of more bad weather. Most of Ralph's frustrations stem from not having enough help from the other older boys on the shelters. They all agreed in the meeting that it was a good idea, but the actual implementation has been more challenging.
When Ralph asks Jack to help with the shelters, Jack refuses, saying that meat and hunting is more important to the tribe. After the boys debate that their island might not be a "good island," the boys come to an understanding that they both want different things, but the issue remains unresolved as to which is more important.