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Look closely at the beginning and end of chapter nine. What is the importance of the character of Simon here and in the rest of the novel? Lord of the Flies, written in 1954 by William Golding

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Introduction

Look closely at the beginning and end of chapter nine. What is the importance of the character of Simon here and in the rest of the novel? Lord of the Flies, written in 1954 by William Golding, is a symbolic microcosm of the world Golding knew and participated in. The island and the boys represent Golding's view of the world and humankind in general. It is an examination of the definition of society, man's inclination for evil and destruction and the inevitable result of anarchy and chaos. It is an exploration of the break down of society in the absence of rules and regulations. Indeed Golding himself defines the text as 'an attempt to trace the defects of society back to the defects of human nature.' It shows an insight into a world where all civility is abandoned and the human race regresses into primitive beings. Simon is a device created by Golding, who can be seen on multiple levels, ultimately signifying compassion and kindness. ...read more.

Middle

He represents his determination to find out the truth about the nature of the beast by still being intent on climbing the mountain. At the top of the mountain, Simon discovers the dead parachutist and realises that the beast is just a fabrication of the boys' imagination and does not exist. The parachutist moves as if it is praying, which is a clear religious symbol and Simon metaphorically sets his soul free by releasing the parachutist. This allows the parachutist to die in a dignified manner and is an obvious spiritual act. This contrasts unmistakably with the other boys on the island, showing that they lack the one quality than Simon personifies: compassion. This is further exemplified by his intention to return to the camp and reveal the reality despite his frailty. At this point, Simon is described as 'the usual brightness having gone form his eyes and he walked with a certain glum determination like an old man'. This illustrates that his exchange with the beast hit him hard with reality and truth and subsequently he has the burdens of an older, more troubled mind and has lost the innocence of youth. ...read more.

Conclusion

When Simon's body is carried off by the tide, covered in the jellyfish-like phosphorescent creatures who have come in with the tide, Golding shifts the focus from Simon's body's movements to the much larger progression of the sun, moon and earth because Simon represented a knowledge as fundamental as the elements. Simon's importance in the chapter A View To A Death and the rest of the novel is to signify, along with Ralph and Piggy, a moral and civilised society. He attempts to maintain the civility in which the book started; however he finds it increasingly difficult as the rest of the boys regress into a primitive and lawless civilization. Despite his frailty, Simon soldiers on his quest to discover the identity of the beast on the mountaintop because he sees that need for the boys to face their fears, to understand the true identity of the false beast on the mountain and to get on with the business of facing the beast within themselves. His character signifies morality, kindness and compassion and ironically, it is these qualities which lead to his murder, and ultimately the final collapse of society on the island and deterioration into savagery of the boys. ...read more.

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