Is Simon ‘batty’, deluded and ill or has he grasped the true nature of what is happening in Lord of the Flies?

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Kristen Lentz | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Although the other boys are quick to brush off Simon's behavior and comments as being 'batty,' Simon actually shows a much more acute sense of perception than any other person on the island.  He truly has grasped the reality of what is happening on the island, which is that the most dangerous thing on the island is the boys themselves.   Golding confirms this truth in Chapter Eight, 'A Gift for the Darkness,' when Simon encounters the Lord of the Flies, who mocks Simon for his insight:

"Fancy thinking the Beast was something you could hunt and kill! [...] You knew, didn't you?  I'm part of you? Close, close, close!  I'm the reason why it's no go? Wy things are what they are?" (143)

The true beast on the island is the boys' own propensity for evil and destruction, their true 'gift for the darkness.'  Even though Simon realizes this too late, the other boys, even Ralph and Piggy, would probably have brushed off his revelation as more 'batty'-ness.  His edgy comments make the other boys feel uncomfortable--deep down they must know that he speaks the truth.  It is easier and infinitely more comfortable for them to laugh off Simon's thoughts, than to have to do a little soul-searching and realize that he might be right.



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