Presentation on theme: "A question about minor characters can often crop up in a an exam. It will ask you to look at the character in question and explain that despite appearing."— Presentation transcript:
A question about minor characters can often crop up in a an exam. It will ask you to look at the character in question and explain that despite appearing minor, that they actually have a key role. Characters who this applies to are Simon and Piggy.
Simon is a great character to write about in a question like this. Simon is marked by his goodness and lack of selfishness. He is more at one with nature than the other boys and importantly more at one with himself. He is not afraid of the dark because for him there is nothing to fear. When he is confronted by the Lord of the Flies, he does realise that the darkness and evil lurks within him too but because he is not tempted by it, he does not fear it. This highlights what a pure and truly good character he is. The others deny evil because they are afraid to admit it exists due to their potential temptation. This is what allows Simon to see what is happening long before anyone else.
Simon throughout the novel, displays acts of kindness and looks after the little’uns, is nice to Piggy and supports Ralph as he recognises that Ralph is the best leader and is aware of Jack’s potential for evil. He is clearly compared to Christ in his behaviour, his personality, his inner calm and his strong sense of who he is. He will never be tempted by the evil inside him.
The key moment for Simon is not his death, but his confrontation with the Lord of the Flies. Here, Golding gives us a representation of the inner conflicts that the boys – especially Ralph are facing. They see the struggle and the tempting nature of embracing your savage side. Simon is key, because he is able to resist, he sets an example, one Ralph is unable to follow and this highlights the flawed nature of Ralph. Simon is as key as Jack to understanding Ralph as a character, without the example of perfection, we have nothing to expect our hero to live up to.
Simon tries to show the boys there is no beast to save their souls – just like Christ – but is unable to do so as they literally tear him apart. His death is vital to the narrative and to Ralph as a character, because it is a turning point. His tragic sacrifice gives Ralph the strength to stand up to Jack to save the little’uns. It also shows Ralph the dangers of allowing the darkness inside you to take control. Although Ralph does become a true hero, it is Simon’s sacrifice that saves the souls of the boys on the island. He teaches Ralph the lesson that he leaves the island with. This is why Simon is such a key character.
Piggy is a great character but you don’t have as much you can say as you can for Simon. Piggy only has one real function, he is the conscience of the leader Ralph. He cannot ever be leader due to his appearance and social standing, but he is able to provide Ralph with knowledge and insight.
Piggy provides the characters like Jack, Roger and even Ralph with the verbal and physical punch bag that they need to highlight the darkness that lurks in them and the potential to show cruelty towards others. There are numerous examples of Piggy being bullied, Jack is at least consistent in his hatred for Piggy because he is a threat to him. Piggy’s common sense would ruin his plans to spread fear amongst the little’uns, luckily for Jack, no-one listens to Piggy because of his appearance, which in a way highlights the darkness that lurks in the boys.
Whereas Jack is honest about his hatred for Piggy and this fits with his character. Piggy is key to understanding the dark side of our flawed hero Ralph, it is the cruel acts towards Piggy that show that he is not perfect. It shows that popularity and acceptance is important to Ralph and that being associated too closely with the fat, poor kid would damage his credibility.
It is quite clear that Piggy is a very ironic character. He speaks a lot of sense and his insight into the goings on – this will be important when looking at symbolism – is clear. The irony is that the boys should have listened to the fat, poor child and they may have had a happier existence on the island. This is clearly Golding making a statement.
Never use Roger to answer a question on a minor character who is actually significant. He does have an important role, but his character is too consistent and therefore lacks the depth and development to analyse in enough detail. You should mention Roger if relevant but never base a full answer around his character.
These minor characters are good to use in a specific question on minor characters. However if you are writing about them in other essays, you must always link your analysis of them back to the subject of the question.