The Light in the Dark
In the midst of darkness, there is light. Light is often used as a symbol for purity and divinity. The evil of human nature often exposes the inner darkness that lies within people. Those who do not let their human nature take over are the light that strays away from the darkness. This becomes clear in Lord of the Flies. A plane crash leaves a group of boys stranded on an island. As time passes they become progressively more barbaric and turn into savages, except for one boy named Simon. In the last four paragraphs of the chapter entitled “A View to Death” in Lord of the Flies, Golding uses an abundance of light imagery in his descriptions of the sky and water, of the creatures, and of Simon himself in order to suggest the apotheosis of Simon.
The light imagery used in the sky and water glorified Simon. Golding emphasizes the skies description to show Simon’s character. He talks about how “the sky was scattered” with the “incredible lamp of stars”. The clearing of the sky to show the bright stars implies Simon’s significance. He is only one who recognizes the true beasts on the island. Golding uses the “lamp of stars” to signify Simon’s apotheosis because gods are often looked upon as bright and holy. He does this to highlight Simon’s innate goodness. Golding uses the water that surrounds Simon’s body to convey a holy image. The “streak of phosphorescence” and “the great tide flowed”. The phosphorescence provides more light to the scene while the tide represents the cleansing of Simon from his sins to prepare him for ascension. Golding symbolizes the water as a separation of Simon and the savages on the island. Simon is calm and orderly unlike them. The author shows the transition of the sky to contrast the chaos of the killing. As the “rain ceased” the “clouds drifted away”. The drifting of the clouds clears up the sky, indicating calm and peacefulness. This represents the transition from darkness the savages ushered upon the island to Simon’s tranquil ascension. This transition puts emphasis on Simon’s goodness against the opposing evilness. Golding uses the planets above to represent Simon’s ascension. “Over the darkened curve of the world the sun and moon were pulling”. The earth’s gravity pulls the moon and the Sun’s gravity pulls the Earth. This illustrates Simon’s body being pulled to a greater place, namely heaven. The environment, particularly the sky and water, portrayed by light imagery indicates Simon’s innocence.
The creatures and Simon’s body also signify his apotheosis. Golding depicts the bright creatures surround Simon to glorify his body. The “creatures busied themselves round his head”. The creatures convey an image of a halo. Halos generally surround godly or enlightened beings. Golding uses the image of a halo to show how Simon has qualities of enlightened beings as he is the only pure and holy one on the island. The author also uses Simon’s body to parallel him to Christ. His body “laid huddled on the pale beach”. Golding does not specify how he laid but could be interpreted similarly to Jesus’s death. Showing the similar qualities between the two, Simon represents the Christ figure in the story. He finds food for the boys and died while trying to spread the truth. Golding then beautifies Simon’s body to highlight his significance. Nature dressed Simon’s “coarse hair with brightness” and the “line of his cheek silvered”. The silver and brightness add further radiance to Simon. Nature can often be harsh and unyielding as portrayed in the other parts of the book; but in this scene, nature seems to be accepting Simon. This presents Simon as a unique person since he is the only character to present natural goodness. Golding also depicts Simon’s body disappearing out to the sea to show the loss of goodness. Simon’s “dead body moved out toward the open sea”. As Simon’s body floats away, so does the light on the island. This is significant because, without the light, the boys will quickly plunge the island into darkness. Through the image of the creatures and the portrayal of his body, Simon is created as a holy and blissful character.
Golding describes many aspects of the environment such as the sky, the water, the creatures, and Simon’s body using light imagery while indicating Simon’s apotheosis. The purity and goodness of humanity can easily be taken over. While the boys lose their humanity, Simon remains unchanged. Simon is deified repeatedly throughout the chapter, showing that he stands out from the others due to his good qualities.