In chapter 12, what does Ralph say to the twins when they refuse to help him?

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rmhope's profile pic

rmhope | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

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Ralph's conversation with Samneric after Jack has captured them and they become "part of the tribe" emphasizes the total devolution of society on the island. First Ralph tries to point out to the twins that they don't truly belong to Jack. He says, "You two aren't painted. How can you--? If it were light--" This fragmented argument is meant to arouse shame in the boys, but because it is dark, they do not keenly feel their guilt. When the twins admit they have been physically hurt in order to gain their compliance, Ralph asks, "Who? Jack?" Ralph continues to try to reason with the boys, asking, "What have I done? I liked him--and I wanted us to be rescued--"

The boys explain that "the chief" and Roger hate Ralph and that "they're going to do you." Ralph continues to try to understand why the boys hate him and to proclaim his innocence, but the twins realize that none of that matters anymore. Jack has made up his mind, and Jack and Roger are now "terrors." When the boys hear someone approaching, Ralph says, "I'll lie up close; in that thicket down there ... so keep them away from it. They'll never think to look so close." He then asks pleadingly, "I'm going to be all right, aren't I?" and then asks twice what the tribe plans to do when they catch Ralph. Samneric reply only, "Roger sharpened a stick at both ends." It turns out that Samneric are tortured and reveal what Ralph said about his hiding place, making Ralph's quest for survival even harder than if he had not confided in the twins.

Although Ralph has a hard time understanding what Roger's sharpening a stick at both ends means, it's clear that the tribe intends to hunt Ralph as if he were a pig, showing that their society has lost all moral grounding and is willing to commit savage murder for no cause other than hate. 

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luannw's profile pic

luannw | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

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First, he feels frustration and anger, but quickly realizes that will do no good.  Then he tells the twins where he is going to hide with the implication that they will lead the hunters in a different direction.  Then, finally, he asks them what will  happen to him once he's found.  He goes from trying to talk them into helping him to acceptance of his fate.

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