Lord of the Flies

simons death

in what ways is simons death symbolic?

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We must first understand what Simon represents in the novel. From the beginning, Golding develops Simon as a Christ-figure. Simon takes on many of the characteristics that Christ had. Simon does not say too much but when he does speak it is to reveal some sort of truth. He defends the weak (Piggy,littluns) and he prefers to think in solitude. Simon is the only boy who understands the nature of the Beast; he knows the beast lives within all the boys. So, it is fitting when Simon scrambles down the mountain to tell the boys the "good news" (The beast that they see is just a dead pilot), Simon is brutally killed. In trying to save the boys from themselves Simon is murdered. If you check out the last paragraph when Simon is killed (the language turns almost spiritual) Golding leaves us no doubt that Simon was the boys' Christ figure and he is sacrificed.

aren't there any moe symbols?



Well, more simply, Simon's death means the destruction of wisdom. Without any wisdom to guide them, the boys are damned. Take a look at the last paragraph of his death. Golding talks about moonbeams and fiery creatures taking Simon back. This is symbolic of angels and angelic devices taking back the divine and the wise.


Wouldn't Piggy represent wisdom though?



Piggy does represent wisdom when it comes to matters of logic. Simon, on the other hand, represents a natural wisdom or divine knowledge. While Piggy has ideas that are grounded in scientific theory and the world of natural sciences, Simon represents a deeper connection to the land and the spiritual world -- the spiritual truth.

Consider how Simon spends his time alone in an almost meditative state while sitting under his mat in the jungle. This is something that wouldn't make sense to someone like Piggy. However, this practice of "bonding with nature" allows Simon to see truths that Piggy and the others cannot. For instance, Just as Ralph is thinking of home in Chapter 7, Simon assures him that he believes Ralph will return safely. The idea that Simon shares his prediction at the exact moment Ralph is thinking of home seems to imply that Simon was able to tap into Ralph's very thoughts. Simon reveals this prophetic gift of insight earlier when the boys first set off to find the beast, developing an image of the beast's true nature in his mind. This can be seen when Golding writes, "there arose before his inward sight the picture of a human at once heroic and sick" (103). While this line is open for interpretation, it can be taken to mean that Simon is able to develop a mental image of the dead parachutist that Sam and Eric describe to the boys at the beginning of Chapter 6 without ever physically seeing it. Dressed in a military uniform, the dead parachutist would definitely be viewed as "heroic", while the word sick would most likely refer to the injuries he suffered during his dog fight in the sky or the rough landing. Either way, it is clear that Simon realizes that the parachutist is NOT the beast through some deep spiritual understanding.

So, while Piggy represents wisdom in matters of logic, Simon represents a deeper wisdom of the natural and/or spiritual world, solidifying him as the Christ-like figure of the novel. Therefore, his death represents the loss of the spiritual truth -- that the beast is the wickedness that lies within each of the boys on the island. Simon witnesses this wickedness while hiding under the mat in Chapter 8, when Jack and the hunters kill the sow. Once the hunters have the animal cornered, they all lunge at her with their spears. The true savageness of this act is fulfilled when Roger penetrates the pig's anus with a spear while Jack cuts her throat, resulting in an almost orgasmic release of blood that covers Jack's torso. This act of sodomy strips the young boys of their innocence and is the moment that Simon realizes the horrible things that mankind is capable of.