In class on Thursday 10y/En2 read the end of this chapter with its momentous events of the killing of the pig, the offering of its head on a stick “sharpened at both ends”, and then the remarkable scene in which Simon encounters the ‘Lord of the Flies.’
It is, I hope you agree, a remarkable episode in many ways. I would like you to use the comments section of this post to discuss your interpretation of this scene. Perhaps the most basic question to start with is, what do you think we are supposed to believe is actually happening in this episode, in which ‘The Lord of the Flies’ apparently talks to Simon? It may help to imagine what one of the other boys would see and hear if they arrived at the clearing just after Simon, and watched what happens when Simon sees the pig’s head on the stick.
(If you want a feel for how I would like this online discussion to proceed, take a look at these posts and student comments from a few years ago, on a different novel.)
I think that when Simon reaches his usually quite place he sees the pigs head on a stick and is so disturbed by it he faints. Then he proceeds to have a sort of dream, as he is unconscious, and in this dream he sees The Lord of the Flies but The Lord of the Flies is actually the beast that is inside of him, mentioned in a previous chapter. This is shown when the Pigs head talks to him about being a poor misguided child, which is what I believe to be his inner doubt.
Simon thinks he is talking to the pig, but becuase he is unconscience he is really talking to something in his imagation, it might be a figure he has created because of guilt or doubt before they arrived on the island. Where he goes when he see’s the pig’s head on a stick is normally his quite place where the butterflies dance about, as golding describes them in previous chapters. But this time he sees a disturbing sight.
Well, I can sort of see where Neave is coming from. But I disagree with you slightly! Well your coming across like he was unconscious the whole time, but he wasn’t. He came across to me like the pigs head and the guts were making him feel claustrophobic, and he was making himself feel ill. Because the place that Simon went to, to calm down, relax and in a way get away from the realisation they were on the island by themselves. ‘Simon’s place’ was also portrayed to be a quite open and beautiful place, but because of the events that had happened before, its almost like the boys had destroyed a once calm and paradise like place. I also think that Simon’s mind had just realised that there was no where else to go, no one else to talk to, so his mind just sort of caved in to the fact that they were ALONE at last and made all the bad thought come rushing back at once. So his mind almost turned the bad thoughts and negative things ever said to him, into an image of the pigs head, which made the situation even more real.
So at last, he couldn’t handle all the bad pressure mounting on him, that’s when he collapsed.
I’ve been holding off from jumping in here in the hope that a few more of you would add your two-penn’orth. However, since there’s been a bit of a lull, can I suggest that you think carefully about all the evidence that’s in the text about this episode (including in the following chapter). What might be suggested by the blood vessel bursting in Simon’s nose, for example? Also, don’t forget that direct evidence from this part of the novel may be corroborated by ideas from elsewhere in the novel. Think back to when Golding introduces Simon for the very first time: what bearing might that have on our perception of this scene?