1. After Simon is killed, the next paragraph begins, “The clouds open and let the rain down like a waterfall” When the boys kill Simon they not only kill him and spirituality, but what they perceive to be the beast. Because the beast was created by them and embodied all of their evils, one of its interpretations can be as mankind’s sin. Simon is very similar to Jesus in this book. The Roman’s ruled the world during Jesus’ life, and now a similar bloodthirsty society rules the island during Simon’s life. Both are killed by such a society, and both sacrifice themselves so that mankind’s sin can be forgiven. When Simon dies, the rain washes away not only spirituality, but also the beast and all of the sins that accompany it. Golding writes that the water bounded from the mountaintop. Because the mountain top represented the peak of society, this could be interpreted to state that all of society carries sin, even the glorious moments of it, and that Simon’s sacrifice was extended to the boys’ entire stay on the island and the sin that was committed during that period of time. This is also similar to Jesus’ sacrifice that was for all of mankind’s sins, not just the sins of the Roman society that killed him. After Simon has been killed, the figures stagger away. By referring to the boys as figures, they are no longer individuals, but the nameless men who are the vehicle that society uses to carry out its evil deeds. It is no longer of relevance who did what because it was the entire society that killed Simon. This can be related to other societies, such as Nazi Germany. Today Hitler is credited with most of the responsibility for World War II. We do not like to blame German society for it because that would mean that we are also capable of this if we had to endure the circumstances of 1940’s Germany. We cannot blame the German race for these problems, as they are a characteristic of humanity. We fought World War II against the forces of racism, but we ourselves treated the Japanese very poorly while all of this was going on. Although we too went through the depression, we did not have the conditions of the Treaty of Versailles against us. When any society has such horrible circumstances, they tend to look for a scapegoat, such as a race of people. If Hitler did not enjoy such great public support he would not have come to power. It is also very difficult for a nation to declare war without public support. It is therefore significant that figures staggered away because it was the whole society, and not just Jack who killed Simon. It is also interesting to note that during the course of this book the boys’ civilization falls from glory. They then create a beast as a scapegoat, claiming that they can no longer climb the mountain, and therefore return to the glory of their civilization because of it. When Simon dies Golding refers to him as the beast. This not only can be interpreted by the Jesus theory as stated above, but by a new theory that establishes Simon as society’s scapegoat. It can also be interpreted to state that the beast is all of mankind’s gifts such as spirituality, when they are suppressed and murdered by society, crippling its ability to function. When Simon is killed he lays still only a few yards from sea. It is important to know that all life originates from the sea, where it arose in primitive form. This is significant for two reasons; it tells us that spirituality is an ancient and instinctive trait of man, and that the boys society, that came away from the mountain (peak of society) and towards the ocean to kill Simon, had returned from civilization to a more primitive and savage form in doing so. Because the beast (Simon) is small, society’s problem is not the beast itself, but the way it is dealt with. When Simon’s blood stains the sand, his death and the savage society that killed him forever taint the island. No matter what might happen in the future, Simon will always be dead and because of the blood in the sand this cannot be forgotten. The sand and ultimately the island being stained with blood also have meaning. Because the society as inhabits the island, the island can be used to represent society as a whole, which is has been stained by its own atrocities. During the storm the parachute is filled with rain and swept off the island. The parachute is a symbol of Ralph, Simon, and Piggy’s attempt to prevent the old ways of society and civility from dying. Piggy and Ralph were part of the savage murder; therefore this society has assimilated them and destroyed their efforts to maintain a civilized society. Simon has now been killed and therefore their efforts and civility can no longer be maintained. The parachute then, tells us that civility has not only been destroyed, but all attempts to salvage what old society values remain, have ceased and that the entire society has become completely savage.
2. Jack’s new tribe is established at the Castle Rock. The Castle Rock has a warlike connotation; the word castle makes us think of war and fortresses, and the word rock brings the ideas of cold and hard to the reader. The spot was also chosen by Jack to be a fortress as the name might suggest. This tells us that Jack and his new society have returned to civilization in a sense, but a lower form of it. Instead of being a society based upon debate and knowledge, Jack has established a militaristic state. Jack’s new tribe can be compared to ancient Sparta. In Sparta young boys were trained to be warriors. Knowledge was not valued in Sparta, only war. In Jack’s tribe the boys are trained to be hunters, and this makes them very similar to warriors. Jack’s tribe also does not value knowledge, only hunting and killing. Sparta was a very hard and strict place to live and therefore the new tribe would probably be under the same circumstances. These hard conditions are symbolized by the “Rock” part of the name “Castle Rock”.
3. If this society is left on the island alone without hope of rescue, it shall continue to deteriorate even further. When Jack came to power it was a revolution that ended with a militaristic state and killed Simon (spirituality) and Piggy (knowledge and reason) as part of its process. The final step in the completion of this revolution was to kill Ralph, the leader of the old society. If Ralph would have been killed and the boys would not have been rescued, the new militaristic tribe would have enjoyed a brief period of stability, just as Ralph’s old society did at the book’s beginning. This would be the calm after the storm so to speak. However, if Ralph who was a qualified leader could not hold his society intact, then how can we expect Jack, who is an inept leader to what Ralph could not? One of the things that this book teaches us is that human nature, and not the individuals of that society dictate certain actions performed by society. Ralph and Piggy were individuals of good intent, but they were present when Simon was murdered. Therefore we cannot look to the individuals remaining on the island in search of clues about what direction society might take. We must look for the history of what has happened on the island to continually repeat itself. It is very likely that Jack will eventually take his power and abuse it, like so many people in his position do, and cause great public upheaval. Perhaps the boys will just get sick of Jack. No matter what happens Jack will fall from favor, and once these conditions are met the society will be ready for a new leader. This new leader could be Roger, or perhaps on of the smaller children when he gets older, but this does not matter. What does matter is that when society is in upheaval, a vacuum of power is always created. Someone is always waiting to fill the void. Eventually this person would likely fall from power, and the cycle of stability followed by revolution would continue. With revolution comes the potential for violence and death, and if the remaining boys were not rescued some of them would likely be killed. Because Piggy has died this pattern cannot be broken. If Piggy was not killed, there would be a voice of reason on the island. It is not just that Piggy and his voice of reason have died, but symbolically the voice of reason has died on the entire island. The boys are quick to disregard reason after Piggy dies which is why they hunted Ralph without second thought. Piggy’s voice of reason would have continually attempted to influence the boys to return to an orderly and civilized society. When Piggy died all hope of this also died.
4. Fable- A brief tale embodying a moral and using persons, animals, or inanimate things as characters.
Parable- A short narrative making a moral or religious point by comparison with natural or homely things.
Myth- A traditional story, usually focusing on the deeds of gods and heroes, often in explanation of some natural phenomenon, as the origin of the sun, etc. It purports to be historical, but is useful to historians principally for what it reveals of the culture of the peoples it describes or among whom it is current.
Allegory- A story or narrative, as a fable, in which a moral principle or abstract truth is represented by means of fictional characters, events, etc.
When categorizing this story as a fable, parable, myth, or allegory, one could make a good case for either of these. Golding prefers myth. I believe that it could be categorized as a myth because a myth creates characters and deifies them. These characters represent all aspects of humanity and how they interact with each other. Because the characters of this story represent these aspects of humanity and how they interact with each other, they are not so much individuals, but the ideologies that a myth incorporates into its gods. As a myth this story can also be useful by revealing the peoples it describes. However, I believe that this story is best categorized as an allegory. It carries an abstract truth represented by fictional characters and events. Without scratching the surface, the story is about a group of boys lost on an island. When you dig deeper for abstract truth, you find that the story is about the behavior society and the fictional characters that represent this are actually personified human characteristics. The events that represent the abstract truth of this society are less significant as events than as symbols. I believe that categorizing this story as an allegory is more appropriate than doing so as a myth because a myth is defined as explaining natural phenomenon. It could be argued that the behavior of society is governed by nature and that its bizarre results are a natural phenomenon. I would probably have to agree with this, but the no section in the definition of an allegory can be questioned for being less than an integral part of Golding’s writing strategy.
5. The three boys that die over the course of the story are; the boy with the birthmark, Simon and Piggy. Simon was killed by the group of boys when he returned to tell them about the beast. Simon was killed at night, and perhaps he was not recognizable. The boys thought that he was the beast, but they surely must have known that it was not a beast when they heard human screams. The entire society had therefore murdered Simon. Piggy was murdered by Jack’s militaristic state. It was Roger that dropped the rock on Piggy’s head, so he is technically responsible, but this does not matter. What does matter is that Jack’s new society fostered an atmosphere that made it acceptable to kill without cause. This new society was founded by Jack, but also by public support. It was this society that killed Piggy. The boy with the birthmark was killed by the forest fire. The was a result of society neglecting the its responsibility for its technology and the power it has over nature. The boy then, is not murdered, but killed by neglect. We also know very little about this boy. Society did not care that it set the forest on fire. This tells us that when society neglects and abuses technology, it often kills something mysterious and unknown without caring for what potential it might have.