What is the most important quote in Chapter 3?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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While there are a few passages that carry much import in Chapter Three of Lord of the Flies because the delineation of character begins in this chapter, perhaps, the beautiful prose of Golding's at the end of the chapter is the most important quote, or at least, the most significant.

After Jack defines himself as a hunter, who becomes "a furtive thing, ape-like among the tangle of trees," he sniffs the warm air and crouches upon the ground, and tries to "convey the compulsion to track down an ill what was swallowing him up," Ralph struggles not to be a hunter, but to be a leader for the vestiges of civilization, urging the boys to build shelters and keep the rescue fire going. 

While he and Jack face each other "astonished at the rub of feeling, " Ralph looks away, saying that Simon always "helps...Simon's always about." But, Simon does move away after helping littl'uns reach fruit; he finds a spot in the jungle glade where he is screened off from the others. Interestingly, the prose of Golding in describing Simon is more poetic than it is in other cases. Also, there is a surreal quality to Simon's experience that sets him apart from the others as he communes with nature. Both beautiful and revealing, this passage establishes Simon as a more spiritual character than the others:

Simon dropped the screen of leaves back into place. The slope of the bars of honey-colored sunlight decreased; they slid up the bushes, passed over the green candle-like buds, moved up toward the canopy and darkness thickened under the trees. With the fading of the light the riotous colors died and the heat and urgency cooled away.

Simon retreats from the tension between Jack, the instinctual, and Ralph, the orderly, and seeks a more spiritual place. This passage establishes him as neither hunter nor advocate for rules. He is representative of goodness, a natural order, spirituality--that which separates man from beast. 

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