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What is your view of the significance of Simon in this novel and what does his presence
contribute to your understanding of Golding's view of human nature?
The persona of Simon in this book is characterised mainly by his appearance and fragile body.
We first find out about Simon when Ralph asks for everyone's name. Simon is described as `the
choir boy who had fainted'. From this first, brief, description, we get of Simon, we already
know of his physical weakness and tendency of fainting. The second mention of Simon is when
Ralph chooses two other boys to go with him and explore the island. Ralph chooses Jack and
Simon. I feel that the line `There was no lack of boys to choose from' is particularly important.
This line implies that any number of boys could have been chosen, but it was Simon who was
drawn to Ralph for some unknown reason. I feel that if Simon had not been chosen to take part
in this activity, he may not have been such a big part of the book, in the same way he had been.
One key moment in the first chapter is when Simon describes some flowers `like candles'. This
shows me the poet inside of Simon he instinctively describes the flowers like candles. This is
fascinating to me, as any `normal' human may have just passed them by without much notice,
but it is Simon who stops and pays them the close attention they deserve.
Chapter three, `Huts on the Beach', shows us the differing nature of Simon compared to Jack.
Jack is shown to be a degenerating human being who is increasingly becoming an animal like
creature, whereas with Simon, we see his kind a caring nature. Near the end of the chapter,
Simon's walk into the forest is described as `with an air of purpose'. This means that he wishes
to achieve something in the forest, not just go in there for the fun or beauty of it. One example of
his kind and considerate nature is the line which reads `Simon found for them the fruit they could
not reach, pulled off the choicest from up the foliage, passed them back down to the endless,
outstretched hands'. Here, we see the first of many Biblical parallels in this novel. This line
immediately made me think of Jesus and his feeding of the five thousand with just two fish and
five loaves of bread. Simon is compared to Jesus in the way that they both helped needy people
in the same way, i.e. by giving them food.
Later in the chapter, the littluns watch him `inscrutably'. This shows me that the littluns have a
mysterious feeling about Simon and of what he is going to do: they might not even trust him or
his actions. The word `inscrutably' also shows me that the littluns have to keep an `eye' on
Simon as he may not be in a fit state. The next paragraph states that Simon `went where the just
perceptible path led him.' This says to me that Simon is not one to make his own decisions, he
is influenced by others and that he may be a `pushover'. It can also be read in the sense that he
is not confident within himself to do things for his own.
Near the end of the chapter, the candlebuds are again pointed out. Again this is by Simon who
found them in the first place. He instinctively describes them as `candlelike' which further
strengthens the comparison of Simon with Jesus. Simon, much like Jesus, spontaneously speaks
his mind and sees things in a different or more positive `light' to everyone else.
In chapter five, Simon says: `What I meant is... maybe it's only us.' Golding then goes on to
write: `Simon became inarticulate in his effort to express mankind's essential illness.' The phrase
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Golding's view of human nature. The
phrase tells us that it is us, who has `mankind's essential illness' and it is us who is to blame
when things go bad. This sentence further reinforces the congruence of Simon with Jesus Simon
tries to `correct' mankind much like Jesus tried to correct the evils of this world.
Chapter eight shows us the first interaction between the `Lord of the Flies' and human nature, in
the form of Simon.…read more