During Simon's encounter with the Lord of the Flies, the Lord of the Flies says:

“You knew, didn’t you? I’m part of you? Close, close, close! I’m the reason why it’s no go? Why things are what they are?”

I understand the general idea of the sentence, that Simon is the only one who realizes that the Beast is inside the boys, but why are there so many question marks? It makes sense for "You knew, didn't you?", but for "I'm part of you?", "I'm the reason why it's no go?", and "Why things are what they are?" it seems odd.

Does anyone have an idea as to why Golding included these?

  • I think the intention is made clearer if you consider each of the sentences ending with "?" as something that the LotF is rhetorically asking for confirmation that Simon knows. As if it were written, "You knew, didn't you ... that I'm part of you?" etc.
    – LarsH
    Jun 5, 2020 at 21:00

2 Answers 2


With appropriate vocal inflection, any statement can be turned into a question. Typically, this would have been done by ending with a rising vocal pitch, rather than a falling one. So he is asking the listener whether they agree with a series of statements, in an attempt to conciliate them.

  • This answer makes a lot of sense. I'll leave the question open for a bit to see if anybody has any other ideas, but if not yours certainly works.
    – RobertF
    Jun 4, 2020 at 21:59

Speaking with a rising inflection or turning everything into a question is known as uptalk or upspeech or, to get technical, high rising terminal.

To some people, it projects uncertainty, but according to some researchers, there is a conversational purpose to it as well:

it invites the listener to listen actively, to nod or confirm, much like adding “you know?” or “right?” to a sentence. It also serves a more basic function of “floor-holding,” preventing interruption by indicating there’s more to come; it turns a period into a semicolon.

In a normal conversation, it would seem that the speaker is trying to elicit agreement from the listener. In this case, however, the speaker is a hallucination of the listener, so Simon has no choice but to agree.

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