Lord of the Flies Revision

On the William Golding site there are materials for students. I have put an extract below on the character Simon. Go here to read more.

Golding has marked Simon out as different – he’s epileptic and is the one who dramatically faints as the choir wait for orders. He stands out in other ways: look at the description in “The Sound of the Shell”: “The boys round Simon giggled….”

  • Simon has a confidence which enables him to go off on his own
  • He is a reliable helper – “Simon. He helps.”

Look at what Ralph says about him when talking to Jack. Clearly Simon LIKES to go off on his own: look at the passage where he goes in to his secret hiding place in “Huts on the Beach”. Check also the passage where he returns to this place in “Gift for the Darkness”. Remember that he volunteers to cross the island alone with the message for Piggy.

  • Simon has a level of understanding which is almost other-worldly:

“I don’t believe in the beast.” Crucially Simon says “… maybe it’s only us”.

Another important passage in which Simon is shown to have this strange knowledge is the one in which he and Ralph are talking (“Shadows and Tall Trees”), and Simon says “I just think you’ll get back all right.” It is worth looking closely at the conversation that Simon has with The Lord of the Flies at the end of “Gift for the Darkness”. Look at Golding’s use of language here.

  • Simon discovers the simple truth about the monster/ beast; he possesses the detail of its true nature – a casualty from the grown-ups’ war from which the children have been evacuated. As Simon frees the lines of the parachute from the rock, he gains the knowledge which could free all the children from fear.
  • Look again at the death of Simon and think about IRONY. Simon has the crucial, urgent knowledge that he runs to deliver to the others: but he is not allowed to deliver it.

Simon is a fascinating character, then. Golding shows Simon as having knowledge about the beast at two distinct levels (1) it is in us, and (2) it is merely a dead airman whose parachute  is entangled.


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