In William Golding's Lord of the Flies, Chapter 6, how do Ralph and Jack differ in their actions as they climb the new hill?

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kipling2448 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Chapter Six of William Golding's novel Lord of the Flies, the boys are sleeping uncomfortably in the cold, dark night. Early in this chapter, a figure parachutes awkwardly from the sky, landing on the hill, the parachute pulling the dead body upright with every gust of wind. As the boys awaken, the talk is mainly of "the beast," and the mystery surrounding its identity. The differences between the boys is becoming increasingly visible, with factions lined up behind the thoughtful, stable Ralph, and the militant Jack, a distinction exemplified in the former's expression of concern for "the littluns" and the latter's response, "Sucks to the littluns." The older boys set out in search of the beast, armed with wooden spears. They head to a rocky section of hill, "the castle," that has heretofore remained unexplored, even by Jack. As the boys explore the castle, they discover that it ends at a steep ridge overlooking the ocean beyond.

As Ralph and Jack, the two leaders, explore the area, they discover a "half-cave" that prompts the latter boy's exclamation, "What a place for a fort!" While Jack views the location as the ideal spot for a fortified position, the more studious Ralph sees only a wasteland, devoid of the necessities of life. Noting the absence of a source of fresh water and any other attributes important to survival, he tells another boy, "There's no food here, and no shelter. Not much fresh water."

Jack and the boys who follow his more martial approach to survival on the island view this new discovery as an ideal place for cover and from which to launch projectiles. Ralph, on the other hand, sees no redeeming value in the castle.

luannw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In chapter 6, Jack and Ralph and a few others discover Castle Rock, the coral and rock island on which Jack and his followers decide to make their fortress.  Castle Rock is high and separate from the surrounding land.  It overlooks one end of the island.  The approach, which is a rock bridge, is precarious and Jack hesitates to cross it, so Ralph goes first and Jack soon joins him.  Ralph sees the island for what it lacks - natural resources that will benefit them in surviving life on the island.  He notes that there is no fresh water, no shelter, and no food.  Ralph says it is "...a rotten place." He does not see any potential for the mass of rock and coral.  Jack, however, sees that the island would be ideal for a fort.  He sees how easy it would be to defend the island since it has only one main access point and from the top of it, Jack can see all the way around it.  Ralph sees the island for its usefulness in helping them survive peacefully, Jack sees it for its usefulness in helping him gain power and control.

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Lord of the Flies

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