Throughout William Golding's Lord of the Flies, we meet two twin boys named Sam and Eric. These boys contain symbolic qualities of a religious point of view, animalistic behaviors, loss of identity and individuality, lightness vs. darkness and their gender.
Sam and Eric, two separate boys yet one whole person "...breathed together,...grinned together.(19)" and finish each others sentences. Samneric started off as two independently different boys, but with their time spent on the island became inseparable. Piggy had the greatest amount of trouble keeping track of the rest of the boys and the twins didn't help him with remembering. While being with Jack for some time, they begin to be called Samneric. Jack calls them, “’Samneric…’(63)” when he plans out his dazzle paint. They have both lost the sense of themselves, and instead of being Sam and Eric they have adopted the name Samneric. Samneric “…nodded like one boy.(115)”, and they “…shared their identical laughter…(97)”. Everything they did, it was together. No decision was made without the other's knowledge of it and wherever they went, they went together. Samneric share one mind, one heart and one soul. Being all each other has in them being stranded on this island the others say "'...to treat Samneric as one turn. They do everything together-'(138)".
Symbolically, Samneric are represented as by having male personalities. Evidence of this includes their inclination to carry weapons, such as spears. Sam inadvertently professes this aspect of his true nature when he says, "'We ought to take spears.'(170)" at a time that weaponry was not entirely necessary. Approval and or possible desire of weaponry is majorly assumed to be characteristic of the male gender. One would not expect a female to concern herself with thoughts of weapons. The boys also take great joy from the hunt - a characteristic that is, again, commonly assumed to be that of a male. Upon returning from the first pig hunt, "The twins stood with the pig swinging between them...They seemed to share one wide, ecstatic grin.(69)" Had the twins possessed a more feminine personality, one would believe that this activity would not appeal to them so much as it apparently did.
In reference to light and dark symbolism within Lord of the Flies applying to good and evil, Samneric can be viewed as potentially dark, or evil. This is explained with describing the twins as "Two boys...two dim shadows talking sleepily(96)" Samneric are referred to as "dim shadows", as they are symbolically representing the darkness that is associated with shadows. At this point in the story, the shadows are described as appearing dim because Samnerics' potential actions are unclear and undefined in intention. They may appear innocent, but as their dim appearance professes through foreshadowing, somewhere along the line, their true shadows, or darkness, will emerge. It is probable that this moment of recognition is intended to be when Samneric betray Ralph.
When we first meet Samneric they "...flung themselves down and lay grinning and panting at Ralph like dogs.(19)" All throughout the book these once separate individuals are described as dogs. When the boys got situated with each other and decided to build a fire on the first night, the other boys would "'...mostly sleep in shelters...except for Samneric,...you'll sleep there.'(80)" Most if not all animals sleep outside, and Samneric were informed to sleep outside. And like the kind of boys they are, they obeyed the order they were given. Samneric have a sense to follow others, as would dogs. Like dogs who wait for their masters, "...Sam and Eric were waiting...(63)" for their next task that were to be given to them by Jack. The boys would pretty much only do as they were told.
Ralph, a greatly important figure in the story, eventually comes to take on various qualities that can be related to Jesus. For example, he is stabbed in the right side by Jack, just as Jesus was when crucified. Towards the end of the story, Ralph goes into hiding, and depends on Samneric to keep his location a secret, as he says to them, "'I'll lie up close; in that thicket down there,' he whispered, 'so keep them away from it...'(190)" Ralph entrusts his life with Samneric, as Jack and Roger have premeditated a horrible death for him. Unfortunately, Samneric betray Ralph and disclose the location of his hideout. When interrogated, the savages ask Samneric, "'He meant he'd hide in there?' 'Yes-yes-oh!' Silver laughter scattered among the trees. So they knew.(192)" It is rather unusual and strange to find the word "silver" mentioned in such context. However, Judas, who betrayed Jesus, was paid with thirty pieces of silver - therefore, the use of this simple word contributes to the reader's understanding that as Ralph portrays Jesus and as Samneric betray him, then Samneric represent Judas. While Judas is one man and Samneric are two, one would believe there to be holes in this argument. However, Samneric are referred to and act as one person, thereby refueding what some would see as a flaw in this position.
As made apparant through the course of Lord of the Flies, Samneric are a pair of characters built up with a strong structural backbone of symbolism through themes such as religion, gender, individual personality, animalistic behavior, and references to lightness and darkness.
Samneric & The Platform by the Lagoon
With the horrific events of a plane crash, a group of young boys find themselves stranded on a deserted island. After a short examination of their surroundings, two boys find a conch shell in the ocean. They take it from the water and a meeting is called with the call of the conch shell at a platform of rock overlooking the lagoon. More and more boys make their way to the platform where they hear the noise. The last set of boys to approach their peers are "...bullet-headed and with hair like tow...(19)" These two boys were the only twins that had been met on the island. These twins, named Sam and Eric, are particularly strange for "...they seemed provided with not quite enough skin, so that their profiles were blurred and their mouths pulled open.(19)" It is an immediate challenge for the other survivors to tell the two brothers apart. They act together in every way, prompting the others to begin referring to them as "Samneric" - a single entity. Samneric "...breathed together, they grinned together...(19)" and rarely leave each others' side, causing even more confusion for the boy called Piggy, who attempts to collect the name of each boy on the island. Inevitably, this problem that poses difficulty for Piggy prompts amusement from the boys, particularly Samneric, who enjoy this small bit of mischeif that they've caused.
Samneric & The Mountain/Beast Sighting
On the first night a boy named Ralph had suggested a fire to be made. While the other survivors are left to sleep in their makeshift shelters, Samneric are assigned to keep watch of the signal fire that the boys have built. Previously, a young boy with a mullberry birthmark had raised the attention of his fellow littluns due to the fact that he had experienced a sighting of a "beastie". This is considered littlun talk by all of the biguns. Of course, the biguns just felt that this "beastie" was just a nightmare that the small boy had had, so they decide to ignore it at the time. As Samneric are working at maintaining the fire, Eric notices that "...there was the big rock, and the three stones there, that split rock, and there beyond was a gap-just there-(97)" When both boys are aware that they are not alone at the fire, "They became motionless, gripped in each other's arms, four unwinking eyes aimed and two mouths open.(98)" The sighting of what must be the beast is worsened with "...the plopping noise of fabric blown open.(98)" The boys race back to the camp to alarm the others. With the same story coming now from a pair of biguns, the other boys believe in the beast. Eric runs to Ralph and says, "'We've seen the beast with our own eyes. No-we weren't asleep.'(100)" As the rest of the biguns hear this, it instills more fear into the stranded boys, who have no indication of what they are exactly dealing with.
Samneric & The Tribal Confrontation at the Neck
Towards the end of the story, Samneric, along with Ralph and Piggy, venture to confront Jack's tribe regarding the return of Piggy's glasses. The confrontation of the presently severed tribes occurs at the neck of land leading to the Castle Rock. Samneric are kidnapped by Jack's tribe slightly prior to the death of Piggy, as they "...lay, inexpertly tied up, and the tribe watched Ralph to see what he would do.(179)" Later, the twins are tortured by Roger in order to ensure that they will join the tribe and align against Ralph. The fear instilled by Roger's vicious beatings in time prompt the twins to betray Ralph and give away his alleged hiding place, as made evident when "The twin moaned faintly and then squealed again. 'He meant he'd hide in there?' 'Yes-yes-oh-!'(192)" This is a greatly important event during the course of Samneric’s experience on the island, as it is the precise moment in which they are plucked from allegiance with Ralph and transferred into an obedience of Jack.