How does the tribe explain Simon's murder in Lord of the Flies by William Golding?

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Lori Steinbach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Lord of the Flies by William Golding takes place on a deserted tropical island, and the boys who are stranded here after a plane crash have transformed from proper English schoolboys into proper savages. They unintentionally murdered Simon in the dark during a storm last night. Sadly, as we meet them the next morning, most of the boys do not even address the fact that they murdered Simon, at least not that we hear (read). 

We do know the reactions of a few of the boys. Piggy would rather not address the issue at all, but Ralph is both aware of what they did and suffering some guilt for having done it. Ralph tries to talk to Piggy about it in a conversation, and he calls it murder. Immediately Piggy reacts and says it was, well, it was anything but that.

Obviously Piggy wants to make excuses for what they did, and he certainly does not want to call it murder. He goes on to say it was an accident, that it was not that bad, and he wants Ralph to deny they were even there.

"We was on the outside. We never done nothing, we never seen nothing.”

Ralph is more moved by the events of last night, and he is clearly trying to process exactly what happened. He is not in denial and he does not hesitate to call it by its proper name, but he does not seem to know how to react to the information. 

The only other people who show any reaction to Simon's murder are the twins, Samneric. They are all four rather sheepish when they meet for the first time this morning, and they talk about last night only in the vaguest of terms.

“We left early,” said Piggy quickly, “because we were tired.”
“So did we—”
“—very early—”
“—we were very tired.”
Sam touched a scratch on his forehead and then hurriedly took his hand away. Eric fingered his split lip.
“Yes. We were very tired,” repeated Sam, “so we left early. Was it a good—”
The air was heavy with unspoken knowledge. Sam twisted and the obscene word shot out of him. “—dance?”
Memory of the dance that none of them had attended shook all four boys convulsively.

Clearly they all know what happened, what they did, but they are unwilling to address it. Ralph comes the closest, but even he has to tuck it away inside himself somewhere so he can carry on; if he does not, this would keep him from any further thinking about anything. 

Read the study guide:
Lord of the Flies

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