Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Lord of the Flies book cover
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Simon

Extended Character Analysis

Simon is the one of the younger “biguns,” portrayed as thoughtful, gentle, and prone to fainting spells. He begins as one of the choir boys but he does not join Jack’s band of hunters, instead staying behind to help Ralph build shelters. Of all of the boys, Simon is the most concerned with the “littluns,” helping them pick fruit and soothing their nightmares. Simon is not truly outcast by either faction on the island, but due to his peculiar personality, he tends to be ignored and seen as “batty.” However, Simon’s insights tend to be chillingly accurate. He is the first one to recognize the true nature of the beast, correctly identifying it as a force within the boys themselves. He also communes with the Lord of the Flies, which taunts him about the nature of man and his impending death at the hands of the other boys. 

Though all of the boys approach the island from an initial stance of wonder, Simon infuses it with a sense of magical and spiritual interconnectedness. He names flowers and sneaks off to a secret spot in the woods to meditate, admiring nature not for what it can do, like Ralph and Jack, but purely for what it is. Simon is established as the most empathetic and insightful of the boys, capable of seeing through the pervasive fear that the others feel. 

One of his most notable observations is when he predicts that Ralph will get back to where he came from, noticeably not including himself in his prediction. This possible foreknowledge of his own death, along with his generosity towards the littluns and his communion with the Lord of the Flies, is often used to position Simon as a Christ-like figure. Ultimately, he dies as he attempts to deliver the truth about the nature of the beast to the other boys. 

While Ralph, Piggy, Jack, and, to some extent, Roger, all represent different forms of social and political influence, Simon symbolizes a more natural sense of morality. Simon does not need to be told what is right or wrong, and he is distinct in that he does not participate in the depravity that the rest of the boys, including Ralph and Piggy, do. His inherent morality and overall goodness is placed in opposition to the overwhelming might of the Lord of the Flies, the inherent evil in all men. However, Simon’s innocence and goodness prove no match for the “darkness of man’s heart.”