What is the "ancient, inescapable recognition” that Golding refers to in the novel Lord of the Flies? 

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Chapter 8, Simon encounters the severed pig's head in his secluded spot in the forest. Simon is mesmerized by the pig's head and the swarming flies around it. He begins to hallucinate and hears the voice of the Lord of the Flies. The Lord of the Flies initially tells Simon to go back to the group of boys and tell them that his stomach was upset. Simon then closes his eyes and tries not to look directly at the severed head. When Simon finally has the courage to stare back at the Lord of the Flies, Golding writes, "his gaze was held by that ancient, inescapable recognition" (198). The "ancient, inescapable recognition" that Simon is referring to is the presence of evil. Unlike the other boys on the island, Simon realizes that each individual possesses an inherent wickedness. Simon's recognition is "ancient" because ideas and beliefs about evil have been around since the beginnings of civilization. Historically, humans have believed in the existence of some form of good and evil. Simon understands that humans are essentially evil beings which is an idea closely related to Christian theology's concept of "original sin."

markboodie | Student

That man is inherently evil

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Lord of the Flies

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