When the impaled pig's head speaks to Simon in chapter 8 of Lord of the Flies, is this an example of personification?Why or why not?

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missy575 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The answer to this question depend on how you are looking at the text. If you take it literally and consider the context of what is actually occuring, the answer is no. However, if you approach it as a moment that demonstrates literary device, afigurative moment, the answer is an absolute yes. 

In this moment, Simon is literally experiencing a hallucination. This character had bouts with seizures as evidenced by the text: 

Simon moved his swollen tongue...

Simon’s head was tilted slightly up. His eyes could not break away...

Simon’s mouth labored, brought forth audible words...

For a moment or two the forest and all the other dimly appreciated places echoed with the parody of laughter.

Simon’s head wobbled. His eyes were half closed as though he were imitating the obscene thing on the stick. He knew that one of his times was coming on. The Lord of the Flies was expanding like a balloon.

All of these bold-faced phrases are moments which demonstrate Simon's body movements. All of them are evidences of the literal seizure he was about to experience. This is the literal explanation of what was happening.

Figuratively,this instance could be considered several moments in which personification is at work. Human traits are indeed given to the pig's head as it "talks" to Simon.

“You are a silly little boy,” said the Lord of the Flies...

“Don’t you agree?” said the Lord of the Flies...

“Come now,” said the Lord of the Flies...

Animals can't talk, certainly not dead ones. In terms of literary device, this qualifies as personification.

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Lord of the Flies

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