In Lord of The Flies by William Golding, what does Ralph say about Simon that Jack agrees with ?

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

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Jack, Ralph, and Simon are three of the four primary characters in Lord of the Flies by William Golding, and they are completely different in temperament. Simon is the sensitive one, attuned to both his natural surroundings and his fellow islanders. He seems to understand the boys and their needs as well as their nature--what goes on inside them. Physically he is the weakest of the three, but he does his part and is involved in nearly everything on the island except for the hunting.

The other two, Jack and Ralph are not alike in most ways except that they demonstrate some version of leadership qualities. Both are much stronger than Simon, but neither is particularly sensitive. Jack is intentionally cruel and selfish, always determined to have his own way and willing to hurt others to maintain his control or to get his way. Ralph is much more diplomatic and willing to consider others' feelings; he would never be physically cruel and is not selfish as he works hard on making life on the island better for everyone.

Given that, if Jack and Ralph agree on much of anything, it's worth noting. The first time they seem to agree on something about Simon happens in chapter three of the novel. Ralph and Simon have been working all day on building huts, and Jack has been unsuccessfully hunting. They do not notice that Simon has kind of sneaked away, and when they do, the two older boys have this conversation, starting with Ralph:

“He’s buzzed off.”
“Got fed up,” said Jack, “and gone for a bathe.”
Ralph frowned.
“He’s queer. He’s funny.”
Jack nodded, as much for the sake of agreeing as anything, and by tacit consent they left the shelter and went toward the bathing pool.

So, Jack and Ralph agree that Simon is quite an odd fellow.

One other moment which is not quite as obvious, occurs in chapter five during a meeting in which Simon rather reluctantly makes a startling observation about the presence of a beast on the island:

“What I mean is . . . maybe it’s only us.”

This is not what Ralph and Jack want to hear because they know it will only feed everyone's anxieties about some strange beast on the island. Neither Jack nor Ralph is very interested in exploring what Simon might mean by this statement or whether it might even be true; instead all they want to do is condemn the thought by condemning the one who said it. Their comments are explosive and, in the end, condemning of Simon. 

After this incident, there is little civil dialogue between Ralph and Jack--about Simon or anything else.

For all kinds of other excellent insights and analyses on this classic novel, check out the eNotes sites attached below. 

Sources:

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