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Simon, walking in front of Ralph, felt a flicker of incredulity – a beast with claws that scratched, that sat on a mountain-top, that left no tracks and yet was not fast enough to catch Samneric. However Simon thought of the beast, there rose before his inward sight the picture of a human, at once heroic and sick. (6.140)
We don’t know about you, but we’re fascinated by the line “at once heroic and sick.” There are so many different ways to go with this. “Sick” could mean physically ill; maybe Simon envisions in his head a dying man. Or maybe the man is “sick” the way all the boys in the island are, sick with bloodlust and prone to violence (hence the fact that the man falls from a war). And “heroic” – what would make a man seem “heroic” to Simon? His death, perhaps? Or the fact that he was made a victim?
“Someone’s got to go across the island and tell Piggy we’ll be back after dark.”
Bill spoke, unbelieving.
“Through the forest by himself? Now?”
“We can’t spare more than one.”
Simon pushed his way to Ralph’s elbow.”
“I’ll go if you like. I don’t mind, honestly.” (7.124-129)
Why is Simon the only boy not afraid of the dark?
In front of them, only three or four yards away, was a rock-like hump where no rock should be. Ralph could hear a tiny chattering noise coming from somewhere – perhaps his own mouth. He bound himself together with his will, fused his fear and loathing into a hatred, and stood up. He took two leaden steps forward.
Behind them the sliver of moon had drawn clear of the horizon. Before them, something like a great ape was sitting asleep with its head between its knees. Then the wind roared in the forest, there was confusion in the darkness and the creature lifted its head, holding toward them the ruin of a face.
Ralph found himself taking giant strides among the ashes, heard other creatures crying out and leaping and dared the impossible on the dark slope; presently the mountain was deserted, save for the three abandoned sticks and the thing that bowed. 7.246-248)
The boys see the beast as “a great ape.” The boys are reverting to primal instincts, and now they explicitly describe a man as an ape.