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Secondary Character Analysis of Lord of the Flies

Simon

Another key ally of Ralph’s is Simon. He is shown to be kind by assisting Ralph in building the shelter and helping the littluns, for whom he gets “the fruit they could not reach.” Simon demonstrates his bravery by accompanying Ralph and Jack to explore the island. He also demonstrates bravery when he unclips the parachute from the dead man, despite being sickened by the sight of the corpse.

Simon possesses a deeper understanding of the psychology of humanity than the others. It is he who suggests that the beast is not a physical being but is inside the boys themselves. He has an appreciation for the beauty of the island and is shown to enjoy sitting alone and taking in the majesty of his surroundings. Some of the boys consider this to be odd behaviour.

It is on one such lone adventure that he comes across the Lord of the Flies, which is the head of a pig on a stick (left there by Jack as an offering to the beast). His hallucinogenic conversation with the Lord of the Flies is reflective of how disturbed the boys’ minds have become. It highlights the prevalent fear and paranoia. Also, it conveys how the rest of the boys perceive Simon; he is told that they all think he is crazy.

The Lord of the Flies confirms that Simon is right in his belief that the beast lives inside the boys, and for this reason, it cannot be killed.

In his attempt to help the other boys understand the truth behind the beast, bringing the dead man’s parachute as evidence, Simon makes himself vulnerable. As a result, he becomes the first victim of the boys’ growing desire for violence and bloodshed. The brutal manner in which the most moralistic character is murdered— with bare hands and teeth—demonstrates the depth of the boys’ descent into savagery.

Roger

Roger is established as a bully from the beginning of the novel when we see him flattening a sandcastle that has been built by the littluns. After this, he “remained, watching” them to intimidate them further. He is a natural follower of Jack’s brutal regime, showing his loyalty by following Jack. He does this even when climbing the mountain in the dark, a task all others, except for Ralph, are too scared to undertake.

Roger is often silent and moody, and his fringe covers his face which gives him a sinister appearance.

He thrives under the cruel and savage leadership of Jack. It is Roger who gleefully takes charge of torturing Sam and Eric. Golding shows him to be a character that already has evil inside him, and just needs the right environment to display it fully.

Sam and Eric

The twins are indistinguishable, finishing each other’s sentences when they speak. This is why they become known as “Samneric”. They stay loyal to Ralph until the end. Even after they have been tortured and forced to join Jack’s tribe, they continue to help Ralph by giving him food and information.

The twins fall asleep during their watch, neglecting their duty to maintain the fire. This means that there is a missed opportunity for the boys to be spotted when the military planes fly above them. They make a second mistake when they misidentify the parachutist as the beast. This causes mass fear among the boys, which later leads to Simon’s violent death.

Minor Characters

The littluns

The younger children become known as the “littluns”. Because of their age, they are the most terrified and ill-equipped to cope with their situation on the island.

One of the littluns, Phil, claims to have seen a beast. Although this is initially dismissed by older children as nothing more than a nightmare, the myth of the beast soon spreads to all the children (except Piggy and Simon). Another littlun, Percival, increases the fear by using his childish imagination to suggest that the beast emerges from the sea, which is why they haven’t found it on the island.

They are vulnerable prey to the bullies, as shown when they have their sandcastle knocked over. This is also shown when Jack jokes about killing one of them and roasting them like a pig. It is most likely for protection from the likes of Jack and Roger that they remain in Ralph’s group even after most of the older children have defected.

The hunters

Originally choir boys (which gives an image of innocence and goodness), they are led by the powerful Jack into their roles of hunters. Eventually, they come to inhabit these roles completely.

Initially, they lack commitment to finding food, which is evident when Ralph observes them choosing to swim rather than search for animals. However, Jack soon stirs them into a frenzied rabble. Under his influence, they wear war paint, break into wild dancing and engage in chanting. It is this group, and the attraction of the food that they source, that gives Jack his initial power from which he starts to recruit other boys into his tribe.

The naval officer

He performs a deus ex machina role. This is when a person or thing suddenly appears – seemingly randomly – into a story to save the main character from peril.

When the naval officer sees the boys with spears and war paint, he assumes that they are playing a childish game. Therefore, he is horrified to learn that two boys have been killed.

He appears arrogant and nationalistic, displaying a lack of emotional empathy. This makes him representative of the attitude that Golding saw as indicative of men who continue to promote war around the world. Tellingly, when the boys start to cry, he cannot even look at them, preferring instead to turn towards his warship. 

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