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What are some examples from Lord of Flies that demonstrate that Simon is symbolic for...

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sallysal1987 | Student, Undergraduate | Valedictorian

Posted July 26, 2013 at 2:39 AM via web

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What are some examples from Lord of Flies that demonstrate that Simon is symbolic for the spirit of a man.

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 26, 2013 at 5:52 AM (Answer #1)

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With the name of the disciple Simon-Peter, the rock, upon whom the Christian Church was built, Simon enters the narrative, fainting and falling upon the sand. That Simon, whose glance rises from "under a hut of straight hair that hung down," is more sensitive than the other boys is, thus, evident early in Lord of the Flies. Supportive, he always helps Ralph with the construction of the shelters. Later, he encourages Ralph in Chapter 3 when the others do not help. "You're chief. You tell 'em off." 

When the boys explore the island, Simon reaches fruit for the little ones, charitably passing this fruit to them. Further, he notes some dark and aromatic bushes with flowers like "candle buds." These "candle bushes"--perhaps suggestive of the "burning bush" of the Bible--are where Simon later retreats and listens to his inner self. The description of this place is lengthy and Golding's poetic prose is beautiful, connoting a spirituality to Simon:

Tall trunks bore unexpected pale flowers all the way up to the dark canopy where life went on clamorously.... and the creepers dropped their ropes like the rigging of foundered ships. His feet left prints in the soft soil and the creepers shivered throughout their lengths when he bumped them.

Simon is intuitive. When the ship passes on the sea in Chapter 5, Ralph rushes to be sure the smoke of the signal fire still goes as he hopes the steamer will see. However, the boys with Jack have been hunting and no one has stayed to tend the rescue fire. As he looks from Ralph to Jack and back, Simon grows fearful, sensing the tension and the imminent evil of the boys' shouting of "Kill the pig. Cut her throat. Spill her blood." Then, after Piggy chastises the hunters for letting the signal fire go out, Jack confronts him, and smacks Piggy so hard that his glasses fall off, causing a lens to break. As "passions beat about Simon," he finds the spectacles for Piggy, and later,shares his meat with Piggy.

Simon senses the conflicts and breakdown of civilized behavior in the boys. Shortly thereafter, he retreats into his secret place where the candle buds are, much like a seer goes off for reflection. Upon his return, he has been enlightened and wishes to communicate to the others that the beast they fear is within themselves; however, "laughter beat him cruelly" as he becomes inarticulate in his attempt "to express mankind's essential illness."

In Chapter 6, Simon is further presented as a mystic. As the boys cross the island and head to the castle rock, Simon walks before Ralph and "felt a flick of incredulity" as he contemplates the beast in the air Samneric have described. However, while he thinks of it, "his inward sight the picture of a human at once heroic and sick" arrives in his mind. Here, Simon intuitively perceives that it is the evil in the minds of the boys which is the beast.

Realizing that the only way to conquer the boys' fear of a beast is confrontation, he suggests that they climb the mountain where it has supposedly been sighted. "What else is there to do?" but he imagines that the beast tells him it is "a bad business" after he finds himself alone before the pig's head. At the end of Chapter 8, Simon falls into a trance-like state and the Lord of the Flies warns him not to try to fight him even though he knew "I'm part of you." 

Not heeding the warning, the Christ-like Simon tries to save the boys from their inherent evil, but he is made the sacrificial victim for their evil.

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