There are various themes and ideas throughout the story and Golding uses Simon to bring out all the religious imagery and ideas in the novel, except for the last chapter. Piggy is the person who brings out the political themes in the novel, these themes are democracy vs. dictatorship. With Ralph representing the democracy side of things and jack running a dictatorship, this could also be interpreted as Good vs. Evil.
We know Simon brings out all the Religious imagery and this is added to by the fact he is the only character in the story to have a name from the bible. To look at Simon is a skinny, vivid little boy and he had short, coarse black hair, but in one of the versions of the films we watched Simon was given fair hair to give an even bigger hint that he is good.
Throughout the story there are two main outsiders and these are Piggy and Simon and they often fall victim to the others calling them “batty”. Piggy, it seems, was bound to be an outsider from birth. Because he has Asthma, he’s overweight, he has a funny voice and accent and he has no sense of humour but he is the most intelligent boy on the island and has the most common sense. He often sum’s things up and tells things like they are, and perhaps most importantly he thinks like a grown up would do. He represents the minority groups in the real world. Even his name isolates him in some ways because he’s called piggy because he is like “piggy in the middle” of the power struggle between Jack and Ralph. As for Simon, he is normal to look at but he has this strange condition where most of the time he is fine but he can easily slip into this episode kind of thing. During one of these he would separate himself from the rest of the group and then feint. But Simon does seem to have some psychological powers and they usually surface when he’s having one of his episodes. These psychological powers make some very important predictions throughout the story.
Simon often plays the good Samaritan aswell in the story and goes out of his way and makes sacrifices to help others. This is shown right at the beginning when Simon and Ralph work very hard to make shelters whilst everyone else is off bathing. And also he collects some fruit for the littluns on page 71, this is seen as the Christian thing to do. And he is seen doing the good thing again when Jack won’t give Piggy any meat off the pig they just caught and Simon rips of half of his piece of meat and gives it to Piggy. Also when Jack breaks Piggy’s specs it is Simon who picks them up and gives them back to the sightless Piggy. Simon does not say a lot in the story but when he does it usually is important and he often comes out with words of wisdom. Examples of this are: – “Go on being Chief Ralph”
“Let’s climb the mountain”
“As if it wasn’t a good island”
and perhaps most importantly of all he’s the first one to turn around and realise that maybe the beast is just the potential inside every single person to go bad. He does this by saying:-
“What I mean is…maybe it’s only us
Right at the beginning of the story Ralph, Jack and Simon all walk off together to explore the island. This is the only time the three boys are actually happy together in the whole story and also I see this as Jack symbolising the bad side of things out of the group of three, Ralph representing the good and Simon is the one who later in the story falls victim to Ralph and Jack arguing and gets murdered by Jack’s tribe.
Simon makes a few predictions during his time on the island and they all have great importance to the story. He says to Ralph early on in the story “You’ll get home” and also the way he says it, it’s like he’s saying I may not but you will. And of course Ralph does get home and Simon gets murdered. Also in the scene when Simon has had one of his fits and then goes up to the pigs head on a stick, it talks to him in his own mind. It confirms to him that the beast is just the ability inside everyone to go bad, just as he had thought and also it predicts that everyone else who is down on the beach having a feast is going to kill him. It say’s to him:-
“Or else we shall do you” and “This is ridiculous, you know perfectly well you’ll only meet me down there, so don’t try to escape”, the saying “meet me down there” is referring to hell. So he’s predicted his own death to himself. This later comes true when he goes down the hillside and gets attacked by the mob. In this scene the pigs head on stick is referred to as “The Lord of the Flies”, this is another name for the devil, as is Beelzebub and Satan and they’re all used in the novel at some stage. This is linked to the novel’s title, “The Lord of the Flies” or “Devil”. When Simon regains consciousness he climbs up the mountain to face the beast, knowing that there is no such thing, when he gets up there he finds the dead pilot sat up on the rock. He shows compassion with the way the way he talks about the pilot and then he does the good thing again and moves the body from its position so it is out of sight saving some dignity for the dead body.
Simon then gathers himself together and heads down the hillside to join back up with the others and tell them the good news, but the tribe are in a blood thirsty mood and we get a hint at what is going to happen by them singing “kill the beast! Cut his throat! Spill his blood! DO HIM IN!” this is reflecting what was predicted to Simon earlier. Simon runs down the hillside and is greeted with the mob charging at him, they attach him with any means possible and soon Simon is dead. As the attack is taking place, a huge bolt of lightening flashed across the sky and this is to shy god’s anger that this is taking place.
Simons death is written in great detail and is very graphic. Even in his death Simon is beautiful and he has religious links to the way it happened too. He came from down the hillside to give good news and was treated to a Christ like slaying by the mob, this is like what happened to Jesus. And in the paragraph describing his dead body it says “coats of pearls”, “layer of silver” and “sculptured marble”, these all images of church again linking Simon to religion. “The trailing vapours busied themselves around his head” this is saying the fly’s have all gathered together around the head of Simon as a kind of halo, like an angel would wear, or it could also be the ring of thorns Jesus wore when he was crucified. The tide then comes in sweeps Simons body out to sea, this is like nature is reclaiming his body and furthermore all the elements, earth and stars were mentioned in this scene saying that they were going to reclaim his body.
At the beginning Simon is seen looking at a bush and he compares it to some candle buds, he says:-
“Like candles, Candle bushes, Candle buds”
Simon is there admiring this bushes beauty and then Jack comes along and slashes at it with his knife, the head of the bush falls of and scent flows out, this could be interpreted as blood. This shows how violent Jack is and could be a prediction for the future of Simon, it could also be seen as no matter what good Simon or Ralph do jack will always go and ruin all that they have done.
Once Simon has died then Ralph takes on all the Religious imagery and it all goes through him now. When Ralph and Piggy go to the tribe to try and get Piggy’s specs back, there are two boys stood on top of the rocks throwing stones at Ralph, this is like the stoning Jesus suffered on the day of his death. And then shortly after Jack charges at Ralph and stabs him in the side with his spear, again this is like when Jesus was stabbed in the side whilst on the cross.
Also Ralph begins to make some Simon-like predictions, he says to Piggy “You’ll get hurt”, this is also ironic because Piggy later dies. We get another prediction about Piggys death from the sea, it reads “pressing himself to it above the sucking sea”, this is saying the sea has already reclaimed Simon and it will soon get Piggy. “He came to the smashed acres of fruit and ate greedily” this is symbolic of the Garden of Eden being destroyed and evil is taking over. Ralph then finds the same pigs head on a stick that Simon was looking at when his death was predicted, now the head had rotten down to just the white skull. Ralph stood and stared it straight in the face and it was like a mirror image of himself, Ralph then struck the skull to the floor and smashed it with a stick. The pigs head was initially a gift to the beast from the tribe and it symbolised death on the island, Ralph was scared of it because it gave him the feeling that he was going to be next.