Breath of Clarity

Lord of the Flies 2009- Model of a Man.

One who has the desire to become a better person often starts by observing the people around them, and forgets that pieces of writing serve as useful models too. The poem “If” by Rudyard Kipling offers advice from a father to his son in order to teach him how to be an honorable man. Certain characters in literature can also represent the epitome of greatness. William Golding displays certain aspects of being a good man in his novel “Lord of the Flies”. Golding tells the survival story of a group of boys stranded on an island. Out of all of the boys, Simon is the only one who consistently manages to keep his sanity in the midst of chaos. Simon has proven through his thoughts and actions that he is indeed a good man. The positive characteristics that Simon exemplifies throughout the novel are helpfulness, wisdom, and courage.

One of Simon’s traits that show that he is a good man is it that he is helpful to the tribe. Simon follows the advice from Kipling’s poem to “think and not make thoughts [his] aim” (5) in that he does not merely propose ideas to add to the well being of the tribe, but also carries these thoughts into action. Simon understands that in order to make progress in developing the civilization, the leaders cannot simply discuss ways to enhance their situation but need to also implement their ideas. He makes an important contribution when he takes an active role in assisting the tribe by building the shelter. Ralph tells the rest of the tribe, “All day I’ve been working with Simon and no one else,” (Golding 50) to try to get the rest of the tribe to start doing work aside from hunting. The boys talk a lot about structural organization, but unlike Simon, they fail to put effort into making their plans a reality. Simon also has a helpful attitude in that he does what is necessary to maintain the well being of the entire tribe. While most of the boys ignore the little ones, Simon exemplifies his helpful nature when he “found for them the fruit they could not reach, pulled off the choicest from up in the foliage, passed them back to the endless outstretched hands” (Golding 56). This shows how Simon never ignores any members of his group and considers the needs of all. He helps those who are ignored by others and cannot physically reach the fruit from the tree on their own. In taking an active part in helping the rest of the tribe, Simon shows that he is a good man.

The fact that Simon is extremely wise illustrates that he is a good man. He follows the advice from Kipling’s poem “If” to “keep [his] head when all about [him] are losing theirs and blaming it on [him]” (1). To be a good man, it is necessary that one stays sensible even if chaos surrounds him. One cannot give in by allowing others to influence him to lose his common sense. When the rest of the boys become over consumed with gaining power and defeating the beast, Simon continues to keep his composure and does not get caught up in chaos that builds up throughout the island. The fear of the beast impacts the boys so greatly that there comes a point when it is hard for them to focus on simply surviving. Simon tries to share his realistic views pertaining to the beast that, “maybe it’s just us” (Golding 89) with the boys in order to decrease massive chaos caused by the beast. He is the only one that understands that the fear of the beast is a representation of the group’s fear of being alone and unsupervised on the island. Simon’s ability to stay sane when others around him are out of control shows that he is a good man.

Simon proves that he is a good man by expressing great bravery and courage through his actions. In Kipling’s poem, Simon follows the advice to “force [his] heart and nerve and sinew to serve [his] turn long after [he] is gone” (21-22). He finds value in making a difficult sacrifice if it will make him be remembered for long after death. When the boys need someone to go across the island to transport a message to Piggy, Simon is the only boy who is not afraid of the beast. When he volunteers, “I’ll go if you like, I don’t mind, honestly,” (Golding 123) the boys are completely shocked that anyone would have the bravery to go alone. The boys had been talking about this beast for the majority of the time on the island, and Simon had been the only one that didn’t let it affect him. When Simon discovers that the beast is not real, the boys kill him before he can share the discovery. Though Simon did not die from being killed by the beast, like he had originally imagined, in the end he did make a sacrifice to show the boys that the beast does not exist. The decision to embark on the risky adventure is what shows Simon’s true courage because the beast was a figure of the unknown. The boys were afraid of the unknown, and this is why they couldn’t tackle their fears by finding the beast or most importantly what Simon had shown that the fears symbolized which was living on their own. Simon’s courage is another trait that shows how he is a good man.

Simon has proved throughout the novel that he truly is a good man. He has a helpful attitude in his assisting of the little ones and building the shelters. Simon is also very wise in that he doesn’t follow the others in believing in the beast and thinks things through. Last but not least, he is the only boy that has the courage to go into the forest and find the beast. We need more “men” in this society not only because of their incredible contributions from their own accomplishments, but more importantly the power that they have to influence other individuals and can serve as a model. While the boys show great appreciation for physical strength in hunting, the fact that Golding didn’t give Simon much physical strength shows irony. In our quest of looking, sometimes we can be headed in the wrong direction. It is important to have more men such as Simon so that we can understand what is a good man, before we strive to be one.