Sam & Eric (Samneric) in Lord of the Flies: Character Analysis & Quotes

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  • 0:02 Sam & Eric in 'Lord of…
  • 0:50 Unity & Brotherhood
  • 2:05 Mankind's Pull From Goodness
  • 4:05 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jennifer Mallett Smith

Jennifer has taught high school English for eight years and has a master's degree in curriculum and assessment.

This lesson summarizes the significance of Sam and Eric, or Samneric, in 'Lord of the Flies' and provides quotations to support these ideas. You'll gain a better understanding of these characters and how they function in the novel.

Sam & Eric in Lord of the Flies

Many of us are sometimes mistaken for people that we are close to. You may have been called a sibling's name by your mother or father, and maybe they didn't realize it until you said something. In William Golding's Lord of the Flies, the characters of Sam and Eric are identical twins who become one person in the eyes of their peers.

In Lord of the Flies, a group of boys is stranded on an island after a plane crash and they separate into two rival groups; one group is led by Ralph, and the other group is led by Jack. Jack's group hunts the pigs on the island and is a bit more savage, while Ralph's group is focused on keeping the fire going in hopes of rescue. As time goes on, Ralph's group is slowly picked off by Jack's group, who begins murdering for sport. Golding uses this story to show us that humans need a civilized society or they will behave savagely - something that can lead to fatal consequences.

Unity & Brotherhood

Sam and Eric are identical twins. Piggy has trouble telling them apart, so Jack provides them with a nickname, Samneric, by which they are referred to for most of the rest of the book. The twins participate in the events of the novel as though they are one character: ''They could never manage to do things sensibly if that meant acting independently.'' Towards the end of the novel, however, Samneric become separate characters. This is a major change in characterization that will have a huge impact on the rest of the stranded boys.

After the murder of Simon, Samneric return to Ralph's campsite where they try to pretend that they were not just involved in the murder. Of course, this would be expected behavior by young men that had just been involved in a murder, but the important part is the description of their behaviors after the fact: ''Sam touched a scratch on his forehead and then hurriedly took his hand away. Eric fingered his split lip.'' Here, we see that the twins have been injured in different places on their faces, which separates their characters physically; the other characters can now tell Sam and Eric apart because they are no longer identical. Later, in the same chapter, the twins engage in a fight right before their camp is attacked by Jack and his tribe of hunters. They are also separate when one of the twins reveals the location of Ralph in the woods. When Samneric separate, they have abandoned their unity, which has devastating consequences for the other characters.

Mankind's Pull From Goodness

Samneric maintain a status in the large group because they find the beast and bring their knowledge of the beast to the group. They take their job of tending the fire seriously, until they are lured by Jack and his hunting group: ''The twins stood with the pig swinging between them, dropping black gouts on the rock. They seemed to share one wide, ecstatic grin.'' Despite Samneric's failure to keep the fire going, they are still allowed to remain in Ralph's group, which consists of only Simon, Piggy, and themselves. But the twins are eventually pulled over to Jack's group with the promise of food, and they participate in Simon's murder.

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