The Death of Innocence
Innocence is perhaps the quality that children are most known for. They are new to this world, and have not yet been exposed to how terrible man can be. In William Golding's novel, Lord of the Flies, he tells the story of how a group of young boys stranded on an island slowly lost their innocence. Although they start out with a leader and a mock society, the animal-like nature inherent in all man slowly gains control over the boys, destroying their society, and also their innocence. At the end of the novel, two of the boys, Simon and Piggy have both been murdered. Ralph, the original leader of the group, weeps for Piggy, who represented intelligence and logic. Golding, in an interview with Jack Biles said, "He should be weeping for Simon,” who represented goodness, and innocence. Ralph should not be weeping for Piggy, but for Simon, who represented all the good left in the boys.
Throughout the book, Golding symbolizes Simon as a Christ-like figure. He is very intuitive and can sense the truth behind what people say. Simon, unlike the other boys, does not fear nature. "He walked with an accustomed tread through the acres of fruit trees (Golding 56)." He is also sympathetic for the smaller children on the island, and helps them out whenever he can. He also realizes that an imaginary 'beast' that the other children fear is simply their own imaginations, and the only thing they truly have to fear is fear itself. This also shows his similarity to Christ, and that he is inherently good.
This characterization of Simon's as a Christ-like figure foreshadows his death. The children begin to believe Simon is the beast after he tells them there is no beast. They began to chant " 'Kill the beast! Cut his throat! Spill his blood! Do him in!'(Golding 152)." They then proceed to murder him ruthlessly, even his friends. His death is the climax of the book. It demonstrates how the children have entirley lost their innocence, and are now fully slaves to their animal instincts.
Ralph is weeping for Piggy at the end of the book, however he is also weeping for Simon, as should be. "And in the middle of them, with filthy body, matted hair, and unwiped nose, Ralph wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of man's heart, and the fall through the air of the true, wise friend Piggy (Golding 202)." Because Simon represents innocence, Ralph is weeping for him also. However, his crying is also for the knowledge that he, and the other boys, will never be the same, and will never quite be innocent little school boys again.
Golding, William. (1954) Lord of the Flies. New York: Berkley Publishing