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In chapter 3 of "Lord of the Flies", why does Simon go to his bower?

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ballerchick | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 23, 2009 at 12:16 PM via web

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In chapter 3 of "Lord of the Flies", why does Simon go to his bower?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted March 23, 2009 at 1:40 PM (Answer #1)

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After the moral posturing of Ralph and Jack, who "walked along, two continents of experience and feeing, unable to communicate, Simon slips off and walks into the forest "with an air of purpose."  Like Thoreau in Walden, Simon wishes "to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see what [Nature] has to teach."  Simon enters his secluded spot so that he can be alone to think.  In a spot where the others do not go, Simon can understand the workings of the island and develop the perception that will aid him in understanding later what it is that the boys fear, what it is that is the "beast."

Holding his breath, he cocked a critical ear at the sounds of the island....With the fading of the light, the riotous colors died and the heat and urgency cooled away.  The candle buds stirred.  Their green sepals drew back a little and the white tips of the flowers rose delicately to meet the open air.

Now the sunlight had lifted clear of the open space and withdrawn from the sky.  Darkness poured out...The candle-buds opened their wide white flowers glimmering under the light that pricked down from the first stars.  Their scent spilled out into the air and took possession of the island.

Simon sees a pristine, poetic view of the island. This observance of Nature teaches him much.  His later transcendental insight into the nature of man is presaged in this Chapter as Simon communicates with Nature and learns "what it has to teach" as Thoreau so wisely observed. Like the candle-buds, Simon, too, blossoms.

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danylyshen | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted March 23, 2009 at 1:20 PM (Answer #2)

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Simon is the most spiritual character in LOTF and he is often compared to Jesus Christ for this reason. Simon has compassion, spirituality, and loves solitude for prayer, meditation and communion with nature. Simon "discovers" the bower, he does not so much as "go to it." Simon was getting away from the frustrations and in-fighting of the others and in doing so discovers this bower which seems like a paradise, or heaven on earth.

Simon dropped the screen of leaves back into place. The slope of the bars of honey-colored sunlight decreased; they slid up the bushes, passed over the green candle-like buds, moved up toward the canopy, and darkness thickened under the trees. With the fading of the light the riotous colors died and the heat and urgency cooled away. The candle-buds stirred, their green sepals drew back a little and the white tips of the flowers rose delicately to meet the open air.

Now the sunlight had lifted clear of the open space and withdrawn from the sky. Darkness poured out, submerging the ways between the trees till they were dim and strange as the bottom of the sea. The candle-buds opened their wide white flowers glimmering under the light that pricked down from the first stars. Their scent spilled out into the air and took possession of the island.

His perspective changes and the darkness seems dissipated. The feeling is divine, religious, meditative, and even church-like. Simon is enlightened, he's found peace, and he's had an epiphany.

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