Notes on Lord of the Flies Themes

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Lord of the Flies Topic Tracking: Religion

Chapter 1 "The Sound of the Shell" & 2 "Fire on the Mountain"

Religion 1: The presence of the school's choir with its black gowns, caps, and "crosses" points out the boys who are, supposedly, the most angelic and holiest of all. However, the choirmaster Jack later becomes chief of the hunters (who were once choirboys), responsible for the murders to follow. Only Simon, a member of the choir who faints on the beach due to exhaustion, resists the primal urges that consume the rest of the choir.

Chapter 3 "Huts on the Beach" & 4 "Painted Faces and Long Hair"

Religion 2: Simon alone reflects the angelic qualities of the choir, as he gives food to the hungry littluns from his outstretched hands while Ralph and Jack - the leaders - never do such a small though significant deed. As Simon walks, nature flourishes around him as flowers open wide; these flowers he dubs "candle-buds"--candles are often used in Christian churches.

Religion 3: As when he comes to the aid of the hungry littluns, Simon always appears to help in times of crisis. Piggy's glasses have been knocked off by an angry Jack and Simon appears without warning to pick them up and hand them back to Piggy, expecting nothing in return. His behavior is always selfless, only helping the needy.

Religion 4: When feasting on the first pig Jack has succeeded in killing, Piggy is yet again in distress. Without thinking of his own needs or hunger at seeing Jack's refusal to give any meat to Piggy, Simon immediately passes his own large piece of meat for him to eat. Furious that his wishes for Piggy to not eat have been opposed, Jack hurls another piece to Simon, commanding him to eat it. Simon again appears here to aid the helpless.

Chapter 5 "Beast from the Water" & 6 "Beast from the Air"

Religion 5: Simon comments from his innocent viewpoint about the beast, trying to help them understand what exactly the beast is. "Maybe it's only us," he suggests. None of the children understand exactly what he means though his insight and perceptions seem to hit far closer to the truth than all the others. He proposes that it is some element in each of them that is the thing they call the beast.

Religion 6: Simon laments his inability to speak about the beast and envies the rhetorical skills of the other boys. His picture of what exactly the beast is comes into focus increasingly as "the picture of a human at once heroic and sick," suggesting the beast would be the sickly part. It is not some external devil with a pitchfork and horns but rather an element of each of their personalities.

Chapter 7 "Shadows and Tall Trees" & 8 "Gift for the Darkness"

Religion 7: Simon comes to the aid of Ralph who is worrying about the boys' condition and if rescue shall ever come to save them from the island. Abruptly Simon speaks to him with words of comfort, "You'll get back to where you came from" as if he knows something that Ralph doesn't. Ralph looks at him and Simon smiles, repeating the statement again. Odd as it is, the comment does cheer Ralph somewhat.

Religion 8: The Lord of the Flies (the title of Beelzebub, a demon from Hell) speaks to Simon inside of his mind and warns him that he is a threat and "is not wanted on this island." The threat stems perhaps from his goodness and inability to be transformed into a hunter as the other choirboys had been. For his resistance, Simon must die, The Lord of the Flies tells him. Presumably, this is the voice of the beast within him that speaks; it is that very same "sickly part" of the human he had envisioned earlier. Being the most religiously good of the boys, he is understandably an obstacle in order for the primal, wicked aspects of the boys to come into full control.

Chapter 9 "A View to a Death" & 10 "The Shell and the Glasses"

Religion 9: Still wishing to aid the children regardless of the consequences just as he had given meat to Piggy despite Jack's anger, Simon now attempts to warn the boys that there is no beast on the mountain. He carries within him a full understanding of the beast as a thing within after having conversed with The Lord of the Flies who had already warned him against trying to interfere. All Simon wants to do is to help, however.

Religion 10: In attempting to warn the boys that there is no beast on the mountain, Simon is savagely murdered by all of the boys as they take part in a primal ritual. After he dies there is an unnatural brightness around his body in the water and his skin bears an unusual description, as becoming like "sculptured marble" and his cheek glimmers like silver. These odd descriptions show that Simon with his goodness had something special about him which has been removed from the island.

Chapter 11 "Castle Rock" & 12 "Cry of the Hunters"

Religion 11: Even though he is long dead, Simon's old words of comfort return to Ralph as he fights against becoming a beast and a savage to save himself. He ends up again on the beach, chased by all of Jack's hunters. In the midst of his flight, thoughts racing in these final moments, he hears again the words "You'll get back to where you came from," spoken by Simon much earlier. Upon falling into the sand, Ralph raises his arms to his eyes to defend against a barrage of spear thrusts, preparing to die as Simon did upon on beach.

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