What bothers Simon in chapter six of Lord of the Flies by William Golding?

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Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Chapter six of William Golding's Lord of the Flies begins with the arrival of an adult on the island, though he comes in the form of a dead parachutist who ejected himself from his plane after it has been shot down. He lands on the top of the mountain and his body kinds of slides along as the wind carries his chute along for a bit. Finally the material catches and holds; however, every time the wind blows, the chute (still connected to the pilot) pulls the dead man erect for a moment before he drops again until the next wind.

Samneric are on fire duty this night, but they have neglected their duty and fallen asleep. In the morning they wake with a start and are goofing around in brotherly silliness until they are frightened when they hear an unfamiliar sound (the popping of the silk parachute in the wind). Immediately they race down the mountain and tell the others about the horrible beast which chased them down the mountain. It is an outrageous tale including claws, fangs, and scratchings, but the boys (and especially the littluns) are already poised on the edge of fear, so they believe. The older boys plan to go kill the beast.

Simon seems to be the only one who does not find the story believable; even more, he has a kind of vision in which he sees the real "beast" which Samneric saw:

Simon...felt a flicker of incredulity—a beast with claws that scratched, that sat on a mountain-top, that left no tracks and yet was not fast enough to catch Samneric. However Simon thought of the beast, there rose before his inward sight the picture of a human at once heroic and sick.

Simon has always been rather intuitive, and this vision he has makes him once again wonder about the nature of the beast on the island. Unfortunately, he has never been one of the boys who can speak with any confidence when he is holding the conch and has everyone's attention, so his thoughts will remain unspoken, at least for a time. One day soon he will speak the truth, but none of the boys will listen. 

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