Analyse how ideas were presented to be thought provoking and relevant
“Ideas” may refer to character, theme or setting.
People who are different from the norm are destroyed by society. William Golding shows these thought provoking and relevant ideas through one particular character in his novel “Lord of the Flies.”
William Golding’s “Lord of the Flies” novel manifests thought provoking and relevant ideas into the reader’s head through the use of powerful themes particularly shown by the ‘batty’ character Simon. This character is different in context to the other characters so he is destroyed for it. Simon is called out for being different, has schizophrenic visions, and suffers death because he was ultimately different. These ideas are thought provoking and relevant to the reader as it shows the true and harsh reality of our society.
The protagonist Ralph and the antagonist Jack are on opposite sides of the spectrum between civilisation and savagery. Whereas Simon is on his own plane representing a spiritual virtue that could be compared to Jesus Christ. He is different on a different level.
Golding gains the reader’s attention by showing how Simon is different, he becomes outside of society’s collective opinion. For example, he introduces the idea of the beast not physically existing, but metaphorically within the boys. He sees things from his own ethical point of view and doesn’t buy into the boy’s fantasies and savagery. When Simon and Ralph are talking on the beach early on Ralph refers to Simon as “batty” because he was talking to Ralph in a somewhat abstract way reassuring him of rescue. This is the author establishing Simon’s character as someone outside the norm of society/social majority. It establishes him as the visionary thinker of the group who can see things that the rest can’t. Our society judges and excludes people who think differently. This is thought provoking and relevant to today’s society as it relates to the flaws we have dealing with many people of different views to the ‘norm’.
Simon starts having visions, which today we see of him being mentally ill cut in the context of the story, making him a visionary who sees things that others can’t. Simon has a vision or a schizophrenic episode where he is talking to ‘The Lord of the Flies’ (in reality was a dead pig’s head plomped on a big stick). The Lord tells him "Fancy thinking the Beast was something you could hunt and kill!..You knew, didn’t you? I’m a part of you?” The Lord of the Flies’ statement foreshadows the fact the beast isn’t something that can be killed. William Golding uses this scene to explore one of the book’s main themes which is that the beast is not a physical creature but a part of human nature. Even though Simon is delusional in this scene, his delusion lets him see what the others can’t, that the beast is within them. This is thought provoking and relevant to our society as it shows how plenty of people who are mentaly ill can be visionaries but we as a society shut them down. We exclude them and give them medication to become ‘normal’ which was how it was in the past too as many famous philosophers and symbols who had similar mental states as Simon for example; Jesus being crucified.
Simon being ‘different’ and his visionary journey separates him from the boys, which leads to his horrific death. Soon after his vision of The Lord of the Flies, he urgently wants to tell the boys of the truth of the beast and he returns to the pack of boys in the dark. The boys evidently mistake him for the beast and fall upon him like a savage pack of animals, horribly slaughtering him. In this scene Golding uses dramatic irony to make a point. By mistakenly killing Simon thinking he was the beast, the boys show themselves that the beast is truly within themselves. Simon was on his way to tell the others that the beast is something that can’t be killed and he is then killed for being the beast, proving the irony of this scene. The fact that Simon thinks and acts differently to the rest of the boys led him to becoming outside of their society and that’s what ultimately led to his death. He is destroyed for being different. If he would have stayed within the pack they wouldn’t have mistaken him for the beast as he wouldn’t have been an outsider. This makes me think about how our society can easily and irrationally turn on somebody who thinks and acts differently, treating them as outsiders. This is especially true for people who are diagnosed as mentally ill.
Simon’s visionary character in this novel makes him a bit of a Jesus figure. Jesus was different from society, had visions and was sacrificed through death because of it, very similar to what Simon represents. It makes the reader think about how many figures throughout society were considered visionaries, but also considered mentally ill. In my opinion William Golding has evidently brought many thought provoking and relevant ideas to our society through the character of Simon in his masterpiece ‘Lord of the Flies’.