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Trace the decline in the relationship between Ralph and Jack, Giving reasons for the conflict between them.

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Introduction

Caroline Finnegan 9 February 2003 Trace the decline in the relationship between Ralph and Jack, Giving reasons for the conflict between them. The relationship between Ralph and Jack begins to decline from an early stage in the novel. The disputes between them represent the fundamental conflict between the desire for civilisation and the instinct for savagery. Ralph symbolises the ordering elements of society, which include law, morality and culture, and Jack represents the chaotic elements of humanity's savage animal instincts, such as anarchy, the desire for power, amorality, selfishness and violence. Ralph is an insightful character. From early on, he notices certain things that many of the other boys do not consider. He realises immediately that the absence of boats and smoke means that the island is uninhabited. He is able to distinguish from what is essential and what is trivial, in that he recognises that shelters, a signal fire and co-operation from the boys are all essentials and that Jack's preoccupation with hunting and savagery is trivial. Jack is dogmatic throughout the novel. The only person he respects is himself. He has a completely opposite attitude towards their situation than Ralph does, rejecting the democratic rules and instead investing all power in himself. ...read more.

Middle

After the argument, Ralph emerges as the more victorious one, and Jack is forced to claim that the hunting is for the benefit of all and not simply for a personal thrill. When Jack's irresponsibility leads to the failure of the signal fire and therefore ends the boys' first chance of being rescued, Ralph is hysterical because it is one of their connections to civilisation. This causes another rift between them, and indicates that Ralph is still controlled by order and morality. He wants the boys to work together and share the labour to reach a common goal - rescue. To do this they need to keep the fire alight. Jack does not agree because he killed his first pig, which he thinks is worth missing a chance of rescue for. The balance of power between the boys is obviously shifting in Jack's favour by this point, because he no longer claims that hunting is merely a necessity for the survival of the group. Jack feels no need to justify his behaviour at all. When Jack begins to hit Piggy openly, him and his followers such as Roger are starting to show their savage side and Ralph cannot understand it because he is still very in touch with his civilised side: "Things are breaking up. ...read more.

Conclusion

Had the boys climbed the mountain in the day, they would have seen the dead parachutist, but because they climb it at night, their imaginations can use the distorted shadows to convince themselves there is a beast. In this way, each boy is prone to give in to the demands of savagery. In the end few chapters, the situation that has been slowly brewing now comes to a head. Jack has taken over the island completely, and Ralph is an outcast. As their natural ability to be civilised towards each other has eroded, so has Ralph's power and influence. Life on the island has become so savage that the hatred and passion to kill Jack bears for Ralph is totally out of control. There is no Piggy and no Simon to help Ralph now and he becomes hated by the rest of the boys. It seems appropriate that Ralph's defeat should come in the form of a hunt since, from the beginning of the book, the hunters have been most swayed by the experience of savagery and violence because they experienced it most often. Now that Jack and the forces of savagery have been given easy fame on the island, the hunt has completely over-ruled the instinct of civilisation. ...read more.

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