In Lord of the Flies, what did Ralph find when he hid in the thicket?
After being chased by the hunters the previous night, Ralph leaves the shelters on the beach and walks toward Castle Rock again, hoping for reconciliation with Jack. He stumbles across Simon's thicket and finds The Lord of the Flies, now picked clean by insects, still astride its spear. He senses the importance of the object, but doesn't understand why he feels this way.
The skull regarded Ralph like one who knows all the answers but won’t tell. A sick fear and rage swept him. Fiercely he hit out at the filthy thing in front of him that bobbed like a toy and came back, still grinning into his face, so that he lashed and cried out in loathing. Then he was licking his bruised knuckles and looking at the bare stick, while the skull lay in two pieces, its grin now six feet across. He wrenched the quivering stick from the crack and held it as a spear between him and the white pieces. Then he backed away, keeping his face to the skull that lay grinning at the sky.
This moment is significant, because it shows that Ralph's inability to understand the situation on the island arises from his own blindness to the beast inside himself. Even as he confronts the face of the beast, he is not a deep enough thinker to understand. He lashes out in anger and frustration, but his attempt to destroy it only results in the skull breaking and appearing larger than before. Suddenly, without knowing why, his instincts for self-preservation take over and he takes the spear. He is now willing to fight and kill to survive. He is now using the beast, but doesn't comprehend exactly what he is doing. He does not see that his actions have caused the beast inside himself to become larger and more powerful just as his striking out at the skull caused it to split into a larger grin.