Ralph correctly labels the event that occurs in chapter nine. Why is Piggy, the most intellectual of the boys, unable to come to terms Ralph's description of it?
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Ralph and Piggy meet on the beach. Tired, injured, and disturbed by the previous night's action, they discuss Simon. Piggy reminds Ralph that he is still chief, or at least chief over those who are still with them. Piggy tries to stop Ralph from dwelling on Simon's murder by appealing to Ralph's reason. Piggy says that he participated in the murder because he was scared, to which Ralph replies that he was not scared. He does not know what came over him. Piggy tries to justify the death as an accident provoked by Simon's "crazy" behavior, but Ralph, clutching the conch defensively, is consumed with guilt and regret and insists that they took part in a murder.
As the chaos surrounding Simon's death calms down, Golding focuses on the horror Piggy and Ralph feel about their involvement in the murder. The two boys attempt to justify their role in Simon's death with the ideas that they did not know that it was Simon until it was too late, they were not among the inner circle of boys beating him to death, and they operated on instinct rather than on malice.