Lord of the Flies by William Golding

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Who do you hold the most responsible for Simon’s death: Ralph, Jack, Simon, or the group as a whole?

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From the very beginning, Jack takes the early initiative in leading violent acts while on the island. At first, the acts are directed toward the pigs under the presumption of obtaining food, but by chapter 3, Jack already seems to be turning more toward the idea of killing in general, less directed at food specifically:

He tried to convey the compulsion to track down and kill that was swallowing him up.

"I went on. I thought, by myself--"

The madness came into his eyes again.

"I thought I might kill."

Simon, seen apart from the violence of the group and frequently interacting with nature, is Jack's foil. The younger children are drawn to him, and he is seen as a helper to the other boys. Where Jack seems singularly minded on killing and bloodshed, Simon asks deeply introspective questions and makes keen observations. In chapter 5, for example, he notes that maybe this "beast" they fear "is only us."

This sets up a key conflict in the novel: a quest for violence versus a quest for knowledge....

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