Could "Passions beat about Simon on the mountaintop with awful wings" be a religious allegory?
After studying Simon as religious, christ-like figure in the novel, I assumed that this sentence in Chapter 4 would be related to the Passions of Christ and angels, however I haven't seen/heard anyone else make this connection, do you think it's relevant here?
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In the scene when Jack slugs Piggy, and Piggy's glasses fall off and break, kind Simon is the one to retreive them from the log; in that moment:
"Passions beat about Simon on the mountaintop with awful wings" (71).
Your idea of the religious allegory is certainly a valid idea and could allude to angels' wings. One interesting aspect of this connection is the idea of the "mountaintop;" in the Bible, God often delivered wisdom and understanding on a mountaintop, like when He gave Moses the Ten Commandments on Mt. Sinai.
Simon also finds wisdom on the mountaintop, because he begins to perceive the dark "passions" of the other boys. Golding characterizes the tension of this scene with the metaphor of "awful wings" which instead of seeming angelic, contrastingly portrays the boys' feelings to be wild and animalistic. The connotation of the word "beat" suggests a harshness of movement, mimicking Jack's desire to hit Piggy, and the frantic pounding of the boys' hearts. Simon understands the buidling tension and the boys' anger, but is set apart from it, choosing to show compassion to Piggy instead.
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