Two separate illustrations of an animal head and a fire on a mountain

Lord of the Flies

by William Golding
Start Free Trial

What does Golding present about "man's essential illness" in Simon's encounter with the pig's head (The Lord of The Flies)?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Wlliam Golding uses Simon's encounter with the pig's head as a revelation "man's essential illness," or the evil inherent in mankind. 

In this scene from the chapter "Gift for the Darkness," Simon encounters the sow's head on a stick, swarming with flies:

They were black and iridescent green and...

See
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

Wlliam Golding uses Simon's encounter with the pig's head as a revelation "man's essential illness," or the evil inherent in mankind. 

In this scene from the chapter "Gift for the Darkness," Simon encounters the sow's head on a stick, swarming with flies:

They were black and iridescent green and without number; and in front of Simon the Lord of the Flies hung on his stick and grinned. (138)

The Lord of the Flies represents corruption and decay.  He addresses Simon's fear of the beast and confirms his speculation from the chapter "Beast from Water" that "maybe it's only us" (89).  Golding's symbolic representation of evil mocks Simon:

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

Simon gains clarity and insight that the presence of evil on the island stems from the boys themselves.  Their capacity for violence and deceit rivals and surpasses even the scariest Beast.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team