The Study of Simon's Character in Lord of the Flies

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  • Topic: Number of the Beast, Sin
  • Pages : 5 (1726 words )
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  • Published : November 27, 2012
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From a Freudian perspective, the tripartite components of the human psyche—id, ego, and superego —are enacted symbolically by Jack, Ralph and Piggy, in the respective order. Simon’s existence in the story serves no purpose to portray this psychic mechanism whereas the other three main characters wrestle with each other and attempt at role balancing in response to survival need. Jack is the id-ridden one, who follows the primitive instinct of the body, and hunting and killing to his satisfaction at any cost. Obviously, even as one of the Hunters, Simon’s apathy about hunting and his abstinence from eating meat evince the dominion of his mind over his body. Considering the superego, readers might confuse Simon with Piggy and equate their roles as both of them stand for the ethical voice on the island, trying to maintain moral standards by which the ego, Ralph, operates. In fact, the characteristics possessed by Piggy are more consistent with the core of superego. Intending to be socially conventional, Piggy constructs an ethical frame according to the rules imposed by adults, by which he emphasizes their importance whenever in the face of injustice. In contrast, Simon knows man’s essential illness as a result of long time introspection, in a natural shelter concealed in undergrowth from humanity. On the other hand, Simon’s altruistic tendency, shown by his feeding of the hungry horde of neglected littluns, intensifies his saintliness, as the divisions of the psyche essentially embody three levels of desires. Recalling the scene when Simon, Ralph and Jack find the candle-like plant, the difference in their interactions with the outside world is clearly demonstrated. Ralph denies their illuminating functions and Jack shows contempt for their inedible quality. They associate an external object with its possible practical use in reality. Simon differs in “seeing” the candle buds, treating an experience as a pure communion, through which insights would have developed according to his sense of impression. Such internal individual perception is limited to affect his inner world of beliefs, but never the others’. This account for the great difficulty Simon encounters when he tries to explain the beast that he “sees”, actually a concept, is true when those utilitarians cannot even understand Piggy’s practical and logical consequence. Another item worth mentioning is Simon’s inclination to be internally or spiritually satisfied—he detects the candle buds after telling his companions that he is hungry. Candles are a commonly used decoration in religious venues, generally meaning a connection to spirit. Similar instance occurs when the others think that he would be bathing in the lagoon, he seeks solitude— a cleansing of his mind. Although realizing that the beast-innate evil nature of mankind does exist, Simon is steadfast in his faith in original virtue of humanity, which was once heroic and sick. If the island is personified as a female, Simon is prone to embrace its beauty and tranquility, meditates alone in a glade surrounded by white glimmering flowers of the candle buds, which symbolize mankind’s spiritual purity. He is not ever disturbed by the affirmed discovery of the beast, and feels completely at ease with going by himself across the forest to rejoin Piggy’s group. The other boys interpret the island in an opposite manner, and become more aware of her danger and hostility as time passes by, giving vent to this restlessness by claiming the existence of the beast. During an assembly, Simon makes a valiant and unsuccessful effort to indicate the essence of the beast- “maybe it is only us”, implying that he expects the beast is one of the two dimensions of our nature .Then he questions the crowd, asking “what is the dirtiest thing there is?”, assuming mankind’s natural tendency to have an affinity with the clean- the virtuous side of himself. This belief is radically undermined when he witnesses the brutal killing of a sow...
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