Focus on the Murder of Simon in ‘Lord of the Flies’ Essay
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Read from ‘Towards midnight…’ to the end of Chapter 9. Contrast this description of Simon’s beatification to the previous description of his murder. How is Simon’s role in the Novel captured by this extract?
The description of Simon’s murder and the description of his final journey out to sea after his death are completely different to each other. In the first, the boys brutally murder Simon because they think he is the beast. In the second, Simon is beatified and martyred as his body is carried out to sea.
When the boys murder Simon, Golding’s use of language helps to create the sense of crowd mentality that the boys are feeling as the storm around them grows. Language such as ‘unbearable noise,’ ‘explosion,’ and ‘abominable,’ give the impression that the storm is deafening the boys, and that the cacophony of sound is contributing to the sense of hysteria that is driving the boys to their actions. In comparison to this, the use of language in the description of Simon’s beatification is much softer, and gives the reader a sense of calm, in contrast to the feeling of agitation in the description of Simon’s murder. For example, there is a wide use of language suggesting light in the description, such as, ‘phosphorescence,’ moonbeams,’ and ‘brightness.’ This gives the reader the idea that Simon is being watched over by God, or a higher being, and therefore suggesting that God is accepting Simon’s body as a martyr.
Golding’s use of pathetic fallacy also contributes strongly to the contrast between the two descriptions. In the first description, ‘the clouds opened and let down he rain like a waterfall,’ and ‘the dark sky was shattered by a blue white scar.’ This description of the intensity of the storm emphasises the madness of the boys. In contrast, in the description of Simon’s beatification, ‘the rain ceased and the clouds drifted away,’ and ‘the air was cool, moist and clear.’ This calming of the storm allows Golding to prepare the reader for the sense of reverence they should feel at Simon’s death.
The manner in which the boys are presented in the first description is also significant. Language such as ‘struck,’ ‘bit,’ ‘tore’ and ‘teeth and claws,’ portray the group of terrified boys as an animal; a beast. However, the group also believes that they are killing ‘the beast,’ who is in fact, Simon. This shows the boys’ complete descent into savagery, as they become the very thing that they are trying to destroy. In complete contrast to this, the dead body of Simon, the beast, is described using language such as ‘silver,’ ‘marble,’ and ‘pearls.’ This use of precious white minerals suggests Simon’s innocence and purity, the polar opposite of the group of boys who murdered him.
This extract describing Simon’s beatification helps to capture Simon’s overall role in the novel.
Throughout the novel, Simon is the only moral and spiritual boy on the island. He is first singled out by Ralph and described as ‘vivid.’ On the boys’ fist journey into the jungle, Simon is fascinated by the beauty of the candle bud plants. When the boys are supposed to be building huts on the beach, Simon is the only one who stays to help Ralph build. All this shows Simon’s sensitivity and moral integrity.
After his death, Simon has a Christ-like quality that singles him out from the rest of the boys. This is because of the spiritual intelligence that he shows throughout the novel. This final description of Simon also captures his role as a kind of guardian angel to Ralph earlier in the novel. When Ralph is despairing that the boys were becoming savages and would never get rescued, Simon appears to comfort him. He says, ‘I think you’ll get back all right.’ This suggests that Simon has some kind of foresight, as he realises that Ralph will get home, but that he himself will not. This foresight also contributes to his other-worldly spirituality.
Overall, Golding’s use of language in the description of Simon’s beatification helps to suggest Simon’s spiritual and moral role in ‘The Lord of the Flies.’