So far, Lord of the Flies has fallen exceedingly short of the death expectations I had set for it. I was expecting a bloodbath! I was expecting a murder per chapter! However, nobody has even died yet. Well, nobody besides that kid from the beginning, the one I forgot about until right this very second. To be fair, all the other characters have pretty much forgotten about him, too. I’ll amend my previous statement: as of yet, no one besides the nameless, faceless, very flammable kid from chapter 2 has died.
CUT TO: THIS CHAPTER.
Simon has regained consciousness from his confrontation with humanity’s inner demons, and his nose is bleeding. He starts to crawl, which takes a really long time, actually, so I’m going to spruce this passage up. Simon starts to moonwalk. It’s spectacular. In fact, he moonwalks straight into the lair of the beast—only now he realizes that what Sam and Eric mistook for a monster is actually just some dead guy tangled up in a tree. Simon seems to have no follow-up questions about any of this. “How did this get here?” he fails to ask. “What am I even looking at right now?” He vomits from how gross it is, but he’ll allow it. I suppose, in his day-to-day, Simon sees inexplicable jungle corpses on the regular. Nothing fazes him anymore. It’s pretty metal. Anyway, good news: the beast isn’t real, and now he has proof.
The problem with this is that Simon has learned something that would be valuable to the rest of the group—never a good sign in the fictional world. If you want to survive an apocalypse novel, you keep that crap to yourself. No good can come of it. But no. Simon, who doesn’t have an ounce of self-preservation in his tiny, mortal body, decides that The People Need to Know. Thus, he begins his cross-island moonwalk to spread the good word. Before he leaves, he frees our friendly neighborhood dead guy in a parachute from his tree-prison, and then he hits the Gong of Foreshadowing just to bring it all home.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Ralph and Piggy are once again trying to figure out how to solve the Jack Problem. Jack has invited everyone to a nice dinner, the bastard.
RALPH: Where are Samneric? PIGGY: They went to Jack’s party. RALPH: What about Bill? PIGGY: Who? RALPH: He’s one of our guys, Piggy. Part of the group. What about Henry, then? Robert? Percival? Johnny? PIGGY: Those can’t be real people. RALPH: They are, sort of. They’re pawns in the game that we’re losing. PIGGY: What were you expecting, Ralph? Jack has leverage. He’s got food. What do we have? The conch shell? A signal fire? Your sunny personality? I wouldn’t even join us. RALPH: Fair.
Eventually, they decide to head on over to Jack’s place. You know, just to make sure nothing bad happens. They can probably also smell the meat cooking. I bet it smells like pork chops and hope.
When they arrive, it’s to find that Jack has stopped just short of forcing the other survivors to feed him grapes and worship him as a god. There’s a bit of tension as Ralph approaches, but then someone slaps Piggy with a piece of food and we all have a good laugh at his expense.
Jack makes sure everyone’s had their fill, but he still somehow manages to make this sound vaguely threatening. Then he barks at everyone to sit down. He asks who will join his tribe. Wow! Who could have predicted that Jack’s feast of conflict resolution would come with strings attached? Since Ralph would rather burn the island down around them than join anything that Jack’s in charge of, he refuses.
As thunder booms overhead, Ralph demands to know what Jack’s tribe is going to do about the oncoming torrential downpour since they don’t have any shelter. It’s a reasonable question. Instead of answering it, Jack orders the boys to commence murder dancing. Everyone seems to agree that this is the correct course of action. Even Ralph and Piggy, caught up in the overwhelming desire to belong to something substantial, join the craze as the boys split into separate murder circles and reenact the slaughter of the pig.
He’s chosen one hell of a time to make an entrance. Thunder is crashing overhead and the beach is lit by streaks of strobe lightning as the group’s murderlust reaches its peak. In fact, so many things are happening that the boys don’t recognize Simon’s pitiful, lumbering, blood-drenched figure. He tries to tell them about the parachute guy. He tries to remind them who he is. But he trips over some rocks and the survivors, wild-eyed and frantic and caught in the grips of an unhinged energy, immediately tear him to pieces.
If you ever see me and I’m staring off into the distance with a look of silent horror on my face, I’m not remembering the war or some sort of personal trauma. I’m remembering THIS SCENE. I am a different person now. I feel like I, too, was complicit in this bonkers murder. I mean jeez, I suspected Simon was going to die, but not like this.
Regardless of how he died or whether the puppies will be held accountable for their war crimes, Simon, the one good and pure thing in this ruined world of ours, has moonwalked off this mortal coil. His agonized trek across the island to warn the others of their own impending, self-inflicted doom was all for naught. No one is safe. Everything is terrible. This is our new, ugly, chaotic reality.
So now that our symbol for human decency has been tragically torn asunder by mankind’s inherent evil, I think the next person on our narrative hit list is science and reason. That most likely means Piggy. Maybe Jack will die, too, but let’s not count Ralph out. This book means business. Anyone could die. But not Roger. Never Roger. Roger will eventually outlive us all.
Oh, by the way: our friendly neighborhood dead guy in a parachute has floated down to the beach. The corpse drops into the survivors’ midst, sending them screaming into the darkness. Then it drifts out to sea, taking with it the proof of the island’s lack of beast, along with Simon’s body. This is upsetting. I am Upset. Let’s look at those puppies again.
Did the boys realize at any point that they were killing Simon? I assume this will be addressed in the next chapter, but I want to know now. I demand it. Tell me.
If you were a symbol, which would you be? Human decency? Science and reason? The order of chaos?
@WilliamGolding: How dare you. Honestly.
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