What makes Simon's death in Lord of the Flies so shocking?

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litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Simon’s death is the end of innocence for the other boys, because they murder him and descend into savagery.

Simon’s death is sad because he is completely innocent, just a sweet and thoughtful boy who was mistakenly slaughtered by the other boys.  Simon is younger than the other boys, and often tags along as a third member of Ralph and Jack’s posse.

Shortly before his death, Simon convenes with the “Lord of the Flies” in the forest.

The half-shut eyes were dim with the infinite cynicism of adult life. They assured Simon that everything was a bad business.  (ch 8)

Simon’s seizures seem to make him more susceptible to spiritual enlightenment.  When Simon sits alone in the forest in deep meditation, he realizes that the beast everyone is afraid of is not a physical entity, but a danger hidden within all of the boys.  Ironically, when he goes to tell the others of this they mistake him for the beast and kill him.

The death of Simon is the end of innocence for the other boys.  It is the turning point between childish games and savagery.  The splitting of the boys into camps, Jack’s violence, and Simon’s death all lead to the breakdown of society’s hold over the boys.  This is why Ralph cries when they are finally rescued.  He knows they will never be the same.

gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Simon's death is so shocking because it is the premier moment that portrays the extent of the boys' savagery. In Chapter 9, Simon runs down the mountain to inform the boys that the "beast" is actually a dead paratrooper. Unfortunately, the boys are in a frenzy as they chant and dance in a circle on the beach. They do not recognize Simon and viciously attack him. Even Ralph and Piggy participate in the brutal murder of Simon as the boys tear, rip, beat, and stab the innocent boy to death. What also makes Simon's murder particularly disturbing is the fact that he was such a moral, sympathetic individual. He most certainly did not deserve to die such a brutal death. Simon's death reveals the brutal, savage nature that is inherent in each boy on the island and is essentially the point of no return. The boys will not recover or become civilized again for the remainder of the story. 

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Lord of the Flies

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