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What circumstances in the novel support the statement that Simon is considered the...

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aburden | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 8, 2012 at 1:55 PM via web

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What circumstances in the novel support the statement that Simon is considered the least savage character in Lord of the Flies? 

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 2) Distinguished Educator

Posted June 8, 2012 at 6:22 PM (Answer #1)

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Sensitive, altruistic, and complaisant, Simon (perhaps named for Simon Peter, the disciple?) represents the intuitive element of man in William Golding's allegory.  For, in situations involving conflict, Simon remains outside the antagonism. It seems as though Ralph in Chapter One intuitively recognizes this spiritual quality as he chooses Simon to accompany him and Jack on his initial expedition to explore the island, even though the small boy has fainted. Symbolically, Simon is placed between them as they venture forth; he says little, but nods his head and his face glows with brotherly love. At one point, he "stroked Ralph's arm shyly."

In Chapter Two when Jack derogates Piggy for just sitting while they built the fire, Simon defends him saying "We used his specs...He helped that way." In Chapter Three, when no one else with help with the construction of the shelters, Simon assists Ralph; then, with a sense of order, he encourages Ralph to scold the others, "You're chief.  You tell 'em off." Later, as the littluns run after him when he seeks the privacy of the fruit trees and foliage, Simon picks fruit for them that they cannot reach even though he would rather be alone.

In the midst of the conflict between Jack and Ralph over the failure of the fire when a ship passes, Simon remains a sympathetic figure as well as a perspicacious one:

Simon looked now, from Ralph to Jack, as he had looked from Ralph to the horizon, and what he saw seemed to make him afraid.

But, he hands Piggy some meat and apologizes for having begun to eat without sharing it first. And, just as he remains outside the conflicts between Jack and Ralph, Simon often tries to alleviate them by volunteering to help or by saying, "What else is there to do?" 

Clearly, his intuitive powers are superior to those of any other boy.   But, when he becomes "inarticulate in his effort to express mankind's essential illness," the savage boys' laughter "beat him cruelly" until they finally beat him physically, killing him. 

Like the mystic, Simon intuitively recognizes the evil inherent within the boys, but his efforts to communicate his message are unsuccessful and he, like John the Baptist, cries out unheard in the wilderness of the uncivilized boys.

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