Two separate illustrations of an animal head and a fire on a mountain

Lord of the Flies

by William Golding

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In Lord of the Flies, what is Simon's attitude towards nature?

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Simon is distinguished early in the novel for his attention to nature combined with a rich imagination. As they have no paper, he suggests using tree bark to write on, and he calls some bushes “candle trees.” He is a serious, responsible boy who helps Ralph build the shelters and doubts that the beast exists.

Simon’s attachment to nature is directly opposed to his involvement in the island's society. He soon develops the habit of wandering off alone, and Golding’s narrator makes it clear that he is used to doing so at home: “He walked with an accustomed tread through the acres of fruit trees….” He is generous and helps the younger children get fruit.

Simon values both his own privacy and the protection that the forest provides. He finds not only solitude but seclusion in the woods. The candles reappear, now in full bloom, when he finds a secret hideaway that is like a “little cabin” beneath some twisted creepers and bushes. He is at harmony with nature and does not feel the need to conquer it like Jack or to impose rules on it like Ralph.

Simon’s habit of leaving camp unfortunately contributes to the younger children’s fear, as they hear him moving around at night. His separation from the group, immersed in the natural world, also helps him understand that the boys’ own imagination has created the beasts: “maybe it’s only us.”

Simon’s attachment to the natural environment of the island also foreshadows that he will not escape it. He tells Ralph that “he”—not “we”—will get where he wants to go. It is Simon who makes the connection between the pig’s head and the Lord of the Flies, suggesting that he has been overtaken by that force—which later will lead to his demise.

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Simon is depicted as a Christ figure in Golding's classic novel Lord of the Flies and has a unique affinity for nature, which emphasizes his sensitive personality and connection with the natural world. Simon demonstrates his affinity for the natural world several times in the novel and is portrayed as a benevolent outsider whom the boys struggle to understand and appreciate. In chapter 2, Ralph, Jack, and Simon participate in an expedition throughout the island to survey the landscape and look for any signs of human life. On their way back to the base camp, the boys spot unique bushes and Simon stops to examine them. Simon is fascinated by the bushes and tells the boys, "Like candles. Candle bushes. Candle buds" (Golding, 40). Jack proceeds to slash one of the plants, and Ralph is only focused on whether or not they can be used for light. Out of the three boys, only Simon truly appreciates the plants.

Towards the end of chapter 3, Simon begins sneaking off on his own to visit his secluded spot in the forest. Golding describes Simon's secret place in the forest by writing,

"The creepers and the bushes were so close that he left his sweat on them and they pulled together behind him. When he was secure in the middle he was in a little cabin screened off from the open space by a few leaves. He squatted down, parted the leaves and looked out into the clearing. Nothing moved but a pair of gaudy butterflies that danced round each other in the hot air" (79).

The secluded spot in the forest brings Simon peace, and the natural environment is a tranquil place where he can relax. Unlike the other boys on the island, Simon does not fear nature and forms a close bond with the natural world. He even volunteers to walk back through the dark forest to the base camp by himself while the boys are searching for the enigmatic beast. Overall, Simon's affinity for nature highlights his sensitive, understanding character and underscores his connection with the natural world. His special connection with nature also contributes to his representation as a Christ figure in the story.

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Simon is the most mystical character in the novel, and, like most spiritualists, finds peace and solace in the beauty of the natural world. In fact, he must periodically return to nature in order to clear his head and maintain the clear perspective he holds. In a poignant encounter with nature in chapter three, Simon experiences an epiphany:

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. The candle-buds stirred, their green sepals drew back a little and the white tips of the flowers rose delicately to meet the open air.

Now the sunlight had lifted clear of the open space and withdrawn from the sky. Darkness poured out, submerging the ways between the trees till they were dim and strange as the bottom of the sea. The candle-buds opened their wide white flowers glimmering under the light that pricked down from the first stars. Their scent spilled out into the air and took possession of the island.

Simon is often described as a Jesus figure, and here he seems very druidic. Simon's description seems to link the divine with the earthly, making them inseperable and one and the same thing. Simon is a visionary and mystic. This is just one example of his realization that we are all connected, all of the same divine spark.

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