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

Lord of the Flies

by William Golding

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How is Simon a Christ-like figure in Lord of the Flies?

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Simon is in many ways set apart as a holy figure who is unlike the other boys. For instance, while he was in Jack's choir at home, he never follows Jack's lead on the island. This suggests that for Simon, the choir was a sincere form of worship, while for Jack it was a way of becoming powerful.

Simon is gentle and centered. Like a Christ figure caring for his sheep, Simon tends to the needs of the vulnerable younger boys. Like Christ, he is concerned about both their material needs for food when they are hungry and their spiritual need for comfort when they have nightmares on the island.

Like Christ, Simon goes off to meditate and commune alone with nature. He has developed an intuitive sense of perception that allows him to see beyond the fears of the other boys and so, like Christ, is not deceived by superstition. He is also able to resist the lure of Jack and his embrace of an atavistic, cruel way of life that revels in destruction.

Simon has a Christlike ability to communicate with the pig's head, which represents Satan's right hand devil, Beelzebub. He speaks out loud to the head when he understands it to be conveying the idea that life is bad, just as Christ speaks to the devil in the desert.

Like Christ, too, Ralph discovers truth and tries to communicate it to the other boys, and, like Christ, he is killed for his pains.

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Simon is a mystic figure in Lord of the FliesGolding himself admitted that he intended to create Simon as a Christlike figure in his allegory

Unlike the other boys, Simon is inherently good, and he does not fall away from morality. (Even Ralph and Piggy do nothing to protect Simon at the time he is beaten and killed.) Moreover, he has a spiritual apprehension of truths that the others do not possess. Much like a mystic, Simon seeks a place for meditation. He finds a clearing in the foliage, and, after assuring himself that he is alone, he meditates in Christlike fashion. Simon intuitively understands the inherent evil of humankind, even though he has trouble putting this understanding into words. He has difficulty in his efforts to objectify this wickedness so that the boys can comprehend it. When he tries to explain, Simon asks the others to imagine the "dirtiest thing there is," but his effort fails because the laughter that follows Jack's suggestion of excrement "beat him cruelly and he shrank away" (Ch.5).

When the boys search for the beast that Samneric report having seen, it is the more spiritual Simon who doubts its existence as a creature "with claws that scratched." For as he contemplates the beast, "there rose before his inward sight the picture of a human at once heroic and sick"(Ch. 6).  It is this "inward sight" that leads him into the covert where he often meditates. This action is Christlike because in the Bible after Jesus was baptized, the Spirit "immediately" led Him into the wilderness (Mark 1:13). While Simon is in the covert, the hunters do not see him as they leave the sow's head there for the beast as "a gift."  After the others leave, Simon remains and regards the sow's head.

The half-shut eyes were dim with the infinite cynicism of adult life. They assured Simon that everything was a bad business.
"I know that." (Simon replies.)

 Much like Jesus, Simon recognizes evil and the Devil. However, when he returns to the others to tell them of his experiences, Simon himself is mistaken for the beast, and he is killed. As a Christlike figure, Simon becomes a sacrificial victim who dies after trying to bring his message to others.

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The connections start with his name.  Simon is a reference to Simon Peter from the Bible, who was one of the disciples.  He has a conversation with the pig's head, the "Lord of the Flies", which is another name for Beezlebub, which is another name for Satan. 

Simon, like Christ, is portrayed as kind, compassionate, and peaceful.  Also, early in the story, he is shown as a provider of food - providing fruit in the way that Christ provided bread:

"Then, amid the roar of bees in the afternoon sunlight, Simon found for the fruit they could not reach... passed them back down to the endless, outstretched hands."

Like Christ, Simon is a prophet, who gains insight into what the beast of the island really is.  When he tries to bring this knowledge to the people, he is slaughtered by his own kind - in the way that Christ was crucified.

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Like Christ, Simon is an innocent, but is brutally killed by the hunters. He also seems to have a keen sense of insight that is almost prophetic in nature. He alone understands that "the beast is only us"--meaning that the uncivilized and uncontrolled behavior of the boys will be what destroys them.

The scene when Simon is "tempted" by the Lord of the Flies (the pig's head on a stick) can also be compared to the passage when Christ is temped by Satan in the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 4. The Lord of the Flies is a reference to "Beelzebub," a synonym for Satan. 

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In Lord of the Flies how is Simon represented as a Christ figure and a loving person?

The scene in chapter 3 in which Simon finds fruit for the hungry littluns and feeds them all is reminiscent of Christ's feeding the multitude. Feeding the five thousand with five loaves and two fish is reported in all four gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), and a second miracle of feeding four thousand with seven loaves of bread and fish is recorded in Matthew and Mark.

The devil's temptation of Christ is reported in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Christ fasted for forty days, then was approached by the devil and offered an end to his suffering and great power if Christ would worship him. This scene is played out similarly in chapter 8 when Simon hallucinates and believes that the pig's head is the Lord of the Flies who threatens that the boys will kill him and insists that evil will be done on the island.

At great cost to himself, Simon pushes through his pain and weakness to inform the others of the great truth he has discovered. His death comes as he is trying to tell his attackers who he is—not unlike the execution of Christ.

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On what page is Simon described as a Christ-like figure in Lord of the Flies?

Simon, depicts spirituality and man's innate goodness. As more of a spiritual creature than the other boys, it is only he that discerns the evil innate in man.

Like Christ, Simon is depicted as compassionate, altruistic, and peace-loving. In Chapter Three Simon provides fruit for the boys in a manner much as Christ provided bread in one of the gospels:

Then, amid the roar of bees in the afternoon sunlight, Simon found for the fruit they could not reach... passed them back down to the endless, outstretched hands.

Then, specifically, in Chapter Eight Simon--whose name is Biblical--retreats to his glade in the forest where he confronts the pig's head, called the Lord of the Flies, which is the name for Beezlebub. In poetic prose reserved for Simon, Golding describes his conversation with this symbolic devil:

Fancy thinking the Beast was something you could hunt and kill!...You knew, didn't you? I'm part of you? I'm part of you? Close, close, I'm the reason why it's no go? Why things are what they are?"

With his intuitive and spiritual powers, it is only Simon who understands the beast. Still, he must confront the Lord of the Flies by looking directly into its face, just as Christ spoke with the Devil in Matthew 4: 1-11 when He was led into the wilderness.

Further, Simon is Christ-like as he becomes the sacrificial victim when he returns to the boys and tries to tell them that the evil lies within them, and he is savagely killed by his own kind, just as Jesus was.

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Why is Simon described as a Jesus figure in Lord of the Flies?

Simon is typically seen as a Christ figure in "Lord of the Flies."  This is because he bears resemblance to Christ in the following ways:  he is good with children (he is often described as picking fruit for the littl'uns), he is a prophet (he tells Ralph that Ralph will definitely make it off the island), he spends some time alone in the wilderness (his "clearing") and, while there, he struggles with the "devil," represented by the Lord of the Flies, or Beelzebub - the Greek word for devil.  Also, he discovers that the essential illness of mankind is our own inherent evil and when he tries to spread this message, he is killed by his peers.

Authors often use Christ figures to make some kind of commentary on religion or faith.  By having the boys not hear Simon's message, but instead brutally murdering him, Golding could be suggesting that part of their inner savagery coming out includes a loss of faith, or at the very least, a denial of human's essential illness.

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What are some examples from Lord of Flies that demonstrate that Simon is symbolic for the spirit of a man.

With the name of the disciple Simon-Peter, the rock, upon whom the Christian Church was built, Simon enters the narrative, fainting and falling upon the sand. That Simon, whose glance rises from "under a hut of straight hair that hung down," is more sensitive than the other boys is, thus, evident early in Lord of the Flies. Supportive, he always helps Ralph with the construction of the shelters. Later, he encourages Ralph in Chapter 3 when the others do not help. "You're chief. You tell 'em off." 

When the boys explore the island, Simon reaches fruit for the little ones, charitably passing this fruit to them. Further, he notes some dark and aromatic bushes with flowers like "candle buds." These "candle bushes"--perhaps suggestive of the "burning bush" of the Bible--are where Simon later retreats and listens to his inner self. The description of this place is lengthy and Golding's poetic prose is beautiful, connoting a spirituality to Simon:

Tall trunks bore unexpected pale flowers all the way up to the dark canopy where life went on clamorously.... and the creepers dropped their ropes like the rigging of foundered ships. His feet left prints in the soft soil and the creepers shivered throughout their lengths when he bumped them.

Simon is intuitive. When the ship passes on the sea in Chapter 5, Ralph rushes to be sure the smoke of the signal fire still goes as he hopes the steamer will see. However, the boys with Jack have been hunting and no one has stayed to tend the rescue fire. As he looks from Ralph to Jack and back, Simon grows fearful, sensing the tension and the imminent evil of the boys' shouting of "Kill the pig. Cut her throat. Spill her blood." Then, after Piggy chastises the hunters for letting the signal fire go out, Jack confronts him, and smacks Piggy so hard that his glasses fall off, causing a lens to break. As "passions beat about Simon," he finds the spectacles for Piggy, and later,shares his meat with Piggy.

Simon senses the conflicts and breakdown of civilized behavior in the boys. Shortly thereafter, he retreats into his secret place where the candle buds are, much like a seer goes off for reflection. Upon his return, he has been enlightened and wishes to communicate to the others that the beast they fear is within themselves; however, "laughter beat him cruelly" as he becomes inarticulate in his attempt "to express mankind's essential illness."

In Chapter 6, Simon is further presented as a mystic. As the boys cross the island and head to the castle rock, Simon walks before Ralph and "felt a flick of incredulity" as he contemplates the beast in the air Samneric have described. However, while he thinks of it, "his inward sight the picture of a human at once heroic and sick" arrives in his mind. Here, Simon intuitively perceives that it is the evil in the minds of the boys which is the beast.

Realizing that the only way to conquer the boys' fear of a beast is confrontation, he suggests that they climb the mountain where it has supposedly been sighted. "What else is there to do?" but he imagines that the beast tells him it is "a bad business" after he finds himself alone before the pig's head. At the end of Chapter 8, Simon falls into a trance-like state and the Lord of the Flies warns him not to try to fight him even though he knew "I'm part of you." 

Not heeding the warning, the Christ-like Simon tries to save the boys from their inherent evil, but he is made the sacrificial victim for their evil.

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In Lord of the Flies what are some examples of Simon NOT being Christ-like?

Your question touches on one of the dangers of allegorical readings of this novel - that is to say that the comparison we can make between Simon and the figure of Christ that is so clearly alluded to in the novel can only be taken so far. We definitely cannot go as far to say that Simon is Christ. Here are some of the reasons why:

1. Although Simon does make two very accurate predictions of the future (e.g. Ralph's safe return to home and by implication, his own death) Simon does not have the permanent connection with God that Jesus has in the Gospels.

2. Although Simon clearly possesses deep wisdom and an ability to discern what is really happening in the island (especially with the Beast), his death does not bring salvation, like Christ's death did. Rather, it only serves to plummet the boys into even greater extremes of degradation and savagery. Also, Simon, being shy and rather tongue-tied, is not able to stammer out the truth he has uncovered before the boys kill him. Jesus, however was killed precisely because of his success in spreading his "mission".

This indicates that when reading Lord of the Flies we need to be wary about pushing the Biblical parallels too far: we can see that Golding meant Simon and the novel as a whole to echo Christian themes without being strictly tied to exact comparisons. The Biblical themes are clearly an important tool to use to decode the themes of Lord of the Flies, but they are not necessarily the only tool to use.

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What events might be used to say that Simon is a Christ figure in Lord of the Flies by William Golding?

This a good question and a number of factors points in the direction that Simon is a Christ figure. Let me give you a few of them. 

First, Simon is consistently portrayed as a selfless and generous boy. While the others are doing their own thing and playing around, there is a seriousness about Simon. He is helping Ralph build huts. This selfless quality is like Christ. The gospel of Mark says: 

"The son of man has come not to be served, but to serve and give his life as a ransom for many." 

Second, Simon has a spiritual quality about him. In this way, he is very different than others. For example, he is marked by faith. So, he reassures Ralph that all will be well, but he says that he might die. 

Finally, Simon does die, like Christ, and his body is mysteriously disappears.

"lifted a fraction of an inch from the sand and a bubble of air escaped from the mouth with a wet plop...Simon's dead body moved out toward the open sea."

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