In "Lord of the Flies," why does Jack not like Ralph in the first place?

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terafrayne's profile pic

terafrayne | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

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Jack doesn't like Ralph early on because the boys initially gravitate toward Ralph. Everyone looks to Ralph for direction. Ralph wants to give everyone a voice and be heard. This is why he suggests the use of the conch as an instrument of order. Jack, on the other hand, doesn't care about equality and civility. Golding also suggests that Jack resents Ralph because he had more authority in the environment that they just escaped from in England.

podunc's profile pic

podunc | College Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

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Jack and Ralph's rivalry begins when the boys are first stranded on the island. As the boys try to pick a leader from the group, Jack says, "I ought to be chief . . . because I'm chapter chorister and head boy. I can sing C sharp." Jack believes his status in the choir sets him up for leadership on the island. The other boys, however, disagree. They are drawn to Ralph's "stillness," "size," "attractive appearance," and the fact that he is holding the powerful conch shell. The boys take a vote, and Ralph wins. Ralph tries to smooth things over by saying that Jack can take "charge of the choir," but the groundwork for their conflict has been established.

rhettgopaul's profile pic

rhettgopaul | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

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Jack and Ralph started out as competitors and this would not change throughout the book. In the beginning Ralph summoned everyone with the conch shell. This first act combined with Ralph's natural charisma caused the children to trust and believe in Ralph. An election was held, and immediately most of the boys hands went up, except for the choir boy's hands. Yet, slowly but surely the choir too voted for Ralph, leaving Jack feeling betrayed. Soon, Ralph was elected chief, and the rivalry between Jack and Ralph had begun.  

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