Simon is the most mysterious character in Lord of the Flies. He is first introduced as a member of Jack’s choir, and he faints when they meet with Ralph and Piggy. He is described as ‘a skinny, vivid little boy, with a glance coming up from under a hut of straight hair that hung down, black and coarse’. Simon helps Ralph with the shelters, and even supports Piggy when the other boys bully him.
Simon is the first character to suspect that all is not well on the island and thinks that the nightmares experienced by the younger boys show that it isn’t a good place. His behaviour marks him out as ‘funny’ and ‘queer’ to the other children and he often takes himself away from them; hiding in a ‘cabin’ created by creepers and bushes. He plucks up the courage to speak about the beast in one of the meetings.
‘”Maybe,” he said hesitantly, “maybe there is a beast.”
“What I mean is … maybe it’s only us.”‘
He is unable to explain what he means, and the boys continue messing about and ignore him. Golding writes that Simon ‘became inarticulate in his effort to express mankind’s essential illness’. His understanding about the nature of humankind, and the evil that lurks inside of the boys, gives him an assurance and a maturity that is not shared by any other members of the group. In a scene which verges on the supernatural, Simon whispers to Ralph that he’ll ‘get back to where he came from’, meaning that Ralph will survive the island. Ralph asks him how he knows but doesn’t press the point, seeming to understand what Simon is saying.
Simon is mesmerised by the pig’s head on the stick, called the ‘Lord of the Flies’. He imagines that the head speaks to him in the ‘voice of a schoolmaster’, and it taunts and threatens him in a terrifying and bizarre encounter, which causes Simon to pass out into a seizure. Simon discovers the body of the parachutist and determines that this is the ‘beast’. He goes to tell the others, arriving during the tribal dance on the beach…