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Free Barron's Booknotes-The Lord of the Flies by William Golding-Free Summary
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SIMON

Simon comes from the Hebrew for "listener." It was also the name of one of Jesus' apostles, Simon Peter. This hints at the spiritual role the character will play in the novel: Simon is the only one who hears and understands the truth.

Simon is a skinny little boy with black hair, about nine years old. At first he doesn't seem to be an interesting character, but he becomes important to the story.

If you met Simon, you might think he was a little odd or weird. He isn't easy to be friends with. He is the kid that others gang up on or laugh at because of the strange things he says. He is friends with no one in particular, and no one really befriends him. Even though he is willing to help build shelters with Ralph, he often disappears on his own.

The reason Simon may be a loner is that he has a disability which makes him slightly different from the other boys: Simon has epilepsy.

In ancient times many thought that the epileptic seizure was an indication that a person had great spiritual powers and was favored by communications from the gods. In an ironic twist, Simon communicates with an evil figure rather than a loving god. He is the only boy who hears the Lord of the Flies speak and learns that the beast is within himself rather than in the jungle.

Because of his spiritual nature, he understands what most boys his age never think about. Simon alone knows for certain that there is no such thing as a beast, that there is only the fear that is inside each boy. He knows that this is what terrifies them. It terrifies him also, and it makes him unable to talk about it. That is why, when he does speak, the words come out so strangely.


Simon is the most compassionate of the boys; he is like a priest or a saint-exactly the opposite of Jack. When Simon sees the dead man in the parachute, he frees him in spite of the horror he feels.

What Simon knows makes him unable to become a savage like the hunters or Jack. He can't even defend himself at the moment of his own slaughter. And when he tries to tell the boys what they cannot understand, they make him the beast of their fears. He is killed by the strength of their belief in the beast.

Simon is one of the most important characters because the story revolves around fear of the beast and he is the only boy who confronts it, during one of his seizures. He hears the truth, and in spite of the consequences he tells it.

Simon's spiritual power is invisible and personal. Someone like Jack, who has no internal understanding or respect for such things, can easily destroy Simon, but he can't destroy Simon's spiritual power. This power is also misunderstood by Ralph, who can't figure out the problem of the beast. Simon's ability is never recognized by his peers.

You will want to consider what Golding is saying about the Simons of the world. They are doomed to die because of what they know and their inability to talk about it. Yet they are the most noble of people because of their willingness to try.

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Free Barron's Booknotes-The Lord of the Flies by William Golding-Free Summary
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