Why are Samneric important? Why did Golding create this double character?

Here are a few ideas:

  • they seem to stand for loyalty
  • they work hard
  • they are keen to keep the fire going
  • they are supporters of Ralph.

They are also used to help the build up of fear. In “Beast from the Air”: “Neither of the boys screamed but ….” And then when they have run back to the shelters, they report back what they have seen. Samneric are the last to change sides, to defect to Jack and the camp of fun. When they do, it is because they are forced to. The twins are a source of information for Ralph:

  • Jack’s plans
  • a stick to be sharpened at both ends

Here is a description of Samnericwhen they first respond to the conch being blown – “The two boys, bullet headed and with hair like tow….”

In “Fire on the Mountain”- “Now the twins, with unsuspected intelligence….”

In “Beast from the Air”, when Samneric are re-kindling the fire and are terrified at the noise of the parachute in the wind.

Their imaginations run wild in their description of the beast – and this confirms the terror, leading to a “real hunt”.

After the killing of Simon, the twins still operate with some sort of conscience. They do not wish to admit to being involved -“Yes. We were very tired,” repeated Sam, “so we left early.”

The twins are helpful, loyal or scared in the novel but there is more to them as:

  • They show understanding of Jack and his followers when they talk of his being painted.
  • They show understanding of what Roger has become: “He’s a terror.”

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