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After having seen the "beast" at the mountain's peak in Chapter 7, Ralph reports this news to Piggy, who expresses disbelief while Ralph feels defeated since the beast will prevent them from being saved, "So we can't have a signal fire....We're beaten," he tells the others. Jack, too, feels discouraged, saying, "...we couldn't kill it." Then he argues against Ralph, and calls for a vote on who the boys want to lead them; however, the boys remain quiet. So, Jack sulks away, defeated, and Ralph expresses his despair, "There's no help, Piggy. Nothing to be done."
Finally, Simon stands up and takes the conch. Amid jeers, a shrinking Simon offers the thought that there must be something they can do. "I think we ought to climb the mountain." When this suggestion is met with jeers from the others and Piggy's uncomprehending question about the futility of climbing up the mountain when Ralph and the others have stated that there is nothing they can do. But Simon simply replies, "What else is there to do?"
As the boys busy themselves with following Piggy's wise suggestion of building the fire on the beach since the beast is atop the mountain, Simon slips away into the forest where he, ironically, encounters the real "beast," the Lord of the Flies, who ridicules him for thinking that the beast is something that the boys can chase and kill.
Simon suggests that the boys should climb the mountain after they saw the beast and Jack says that there's nothing they can do. The boys were scared of doing that, because the beast is something they were terrified of.
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