After the Roman-like feast in which the boys engaged in animalistic behavior and became so carried away in their beating of the beast ritual that the unsuspecting Simon became caught in, and, later, killed, it is a disheveled and injured--both physically and psychologically--Ralph who emerges the next morning out of the coconut trees, "limping, dirty, with dead leaves hanging from his shock of yellow hair." When Ralph sits down, Piggy joins him, but they do not speak. Finally Ralph clears his throat and hoarsely whispers something that Piggy cannot hear. Piggy asks him what he has said, and Ralph blurts out, "Simon." They remain silent for a time, then Ralph goes over to the conch and picks it up. "What are we going to do?" he laughs nervously; he shivers.
What he has witnessed the night before has greatly disturbed Ralph, who is emotionally shaken as he feels both guilt and horror about the death of his friend Simon. With his moral sense intact, Ralph tells Piggy, "That was murder." Piggy, on the other hand, tries to rationalize, saying maybe Simon is all right, "[i]t was an accident," "Coming in the dark--he hadn't no business crawling like that out of the dark," ....urging Ralph to "forget this" because they can't help themselves by thinking about it. On the third page of the chapter, Ralph confesses,
"I'm frightened. Of us. I want to go home, Oh God, I want to go home." (Penquin edition, p. 140)
Piggy adamantly persists in calling Simon's death and accident, but Ralph is changed forever.
Piggy carefully watches Ralph approach. Somehow, Ralph still maintains his leadership charisma, despite what happened to Simon. He is limping, bruised, and has dead leaves in his hair. Together, they determine that only Ralph, Piggy, Samneric, and some littluns remain loyal to the conch. Ralph and Piggy sit on the platform facing the shell.
Ralph begins to talk about Simon and what happened. He says it was murder. Piggy insists that it is no good to talk about it like that. He says it was only because they were scared. “I wasn’t scared,” said Ralph slowly, “I was—I don’t know what I was.” Piggy suggests, desperately, that Simon may still be alive and that he was only pretending. He suggests that maybe it was an accident.
Ralph says, “I’m frightened. Of us. I want to go home. Oh God, I want to go home.”
This chapter shows us the extent of Ralph's mental strength. Desperation is finally starting to creep on him.