Simon Birch

By Grace Midtvedt

The Story

  • Simon is a small boy was the smallest boy in his Sunday school. He had a heart that was undersized. The doctors said he wouldn't last very long, but he somehow survived.
  • The main character, Joe, and Birch were good friends as kids. The main character helped out Simon all the time, like when they played baseball together.
  • Like in the Scarlet Ibis, the two have a special place they go, the quarry.
  • Joe's mother brings a man over for dinner that she likes. He brings a gift that scares the boys. Joe doesn't like him and Simon says that he might have been sent their by God to be his dad. Joe tells Simon he just wants to know who his real dad is.
  • Simon calls out the pastor and the pastor later says that Simon needs to act more like a normal person. But Simon doesn't apologize and the pastor keeps him at the church until he does.
  • At the boys next baseball game, Simon swings the bat so hard, the ball hits Joe's mom and she dies from the impact. Joe is really made at Simon and leaves him alone.
  • To say sorry, Joe sends Simon the armadillo they got from Joe's mom's girlfriend as an I forgive you. Simon visits the the mother's grave, apologizing to Joe and his mom.
  • Joe starts to accept his mother's death and he notices that that her presence started to disappear from his life. But he knew that Simon noticed too, also loving his mother like he was her own son.
  • Simon and Joe start looking for Joe's real Dad and they use the swim coach as their prime suspect. Joe joins the swim team to get closer to the guy and find out the truth.
  • After school hours, they break in and try to look for clues. They find a ball that says Baker Phys.Ed and Joe breaks down at finding out. He breaks a window and the boys get sent to the police station.
  • At the police station, Joe tries to take all the blame, but Simon doesn't let him. They both have to take community service by helping at a church retreat.
  • After the truth had been revealed, the Sunday school class prepares for the Christmas play. Simon got the role of baby Jesus and Joe got the role of a Shepard.
  • Simon causes some more trouble with the play and gets called to the pastors office for mouthing off. He asks "Does God have a plan for us?" The pastor says it's good he has faith and that not to over do it.
  • Simon helps a kid that's afraid of the taller kids before the show. It gives him confidence in being a turtle dove with the other kids, and going to the church retreat.
  • During the play, all madness broke loss all because Simon was his cheeky self. The pastor scolds him and they sit down to talk about it. The pastor says he scares the children with his "stories" of being an servant of God. He's suspended from the church and the retreat. The two go back and forth until Simon admits he just wants to know if God really does have a plan for everyone. The pastor simply says "I can't"
  • Simon decides to walk home of his own that night after talking to Joe about the play.
  • The next day, Simon can't get out of bed due to being sick. His parents don't let him see Simon. Joe leaves on the retreat, Simon coming to say good bye and to retrieve his baseball cards.
  • Simon sneaks into the pastor's office to steal back his cards, but also finding a baseball that was the same as the ball in the swim coach's office. Simon puts it together and finds out the pastor is Joe's father.
  • The pastor admits he's a lefty to Joe, and Joe asks what it means. He tells the story of how the night they conceived Joe happened. Simon comes and Joe asks if the pastor is lying.
  • The pastor admits it was a mistake to the drama teacher and wishes he could have taken back what he had done long ago.
  • Joe says to Simon on the ride from the retreat to home that it was Simon's destiny to help Joe find his father.
  • The bus they are riding in crashes and the driver can't stop the bus. The bus falls into the water and the driver bails. Simon then takes charge and calms everyone down. Joe and Simon work together to take people to the shore from the bus. Joe carries the children and Simon keeps them calm.
  • A child is still stuck on the bus and Simon tries to free him. He finds a window that can still be opened and gets him through. But Birch is still stuck and goes down with the bus.
  • Simon makes it to the surface and Joe tries to help Simon to shore.
  • Joe wakes up in the hospital after passing out on the shore. When he sees his dad and the teacher, they let him see Simon.
  • When Joe gets to the room, a girl from church is there and says he did a really brave thing. That he was a hero.
  • Joe goes into Simon's room and the two share one last talk before Birch passes away.
  • Time passes, and Simon still goes to the quarry. Joe's grandmother died, Joe gets adopted, and Joe accepts Simon's death, but never forgets.
  • The story cuts back to Joe when he's older, he still remembers the lessons Simon taught him, to the horrible jokes he used to say.



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Simon's Character

Overview

Simon seems to be a small character, literally. Though what he lacks in heart size and height, he has a very outgoing and always speaks his mind. He isn't afraid to even make suggestive comments about Joe's mother. Birch doesn't click with Joe's Grandmother, being called a 'creature' or 'strange'. He is called cute by girls his age, but he knows they don't see him as a potential boyfriend. Simon even said "They see me as turtle cute. But they don't want to kiss a turtle." (Simon Birch).


Interactions

His parents seem to not be too involved in Simon's life. When Simon and Joe went to jail, his parents don't come to pick him up even when he's allowed to go home. They also put him down and call him a screw up. But that doesn't stop him from being apart of Joe's family. He likes to be sweet to Joe's mom and treat her like a lady when she's looking. His parents don't go to church, so he got put down by the Sunday school teacher, but Joe's mom tells her off.

Joe is Simon's best friend. Joe tends to sometimes take Birch for granted, but they still work well together and help each other through their trials. When Simon's Dad calls him screw up, so Joe says that the man didn't deserve a great son like Simon.

Simon shows a lot of sympathy, like helping a boy who was crying at practice. He told the boy not to be afraid of the older children and that he would be at the retreat with him, giving him more confidence.


Personality

Simon also isn't afraid to say what he wants to. Like pointing out the fact that girls have breasts and boobs, and the Sunday school teacher was smoker. He's not phased when people insult him and he takes it in stride with a clever retort. Such as when the pastor asked why he was thinking about God in a corner, Simon said "Because God doesn't have a set floor plan." (Simon Birch). He also is very honest with himself. When he says "I'm like a turtle. Girls don't want to kiss a turtle." The girls in town don't see him as a boyfriend because of his disability, but he accepts the fact just strives to do his best.


Emotional

One of the most emotional moments was when Birch accidentally killed Joe's mom during baseball. Joe shuns Simon, making Simon give Joe his baseball cards, his favorite things in the world to say his sorry. Even after, Simon still doesn't forgive himself and even goes to her grave trying to apologize to both Simon and his mother.


Belief

Simon believes that God has a plan for everyone and has a strong belief everything happens for a reason. He says this throughout the movie "God has a plan for everyone and me" (Simon Birch). He believes that he can make a change and be a hero, but he states that "He's running out of time." (Simon Birch).


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Three Big Events

Simon accidentally kills Joe's mother during a baseball game, causing a rift between the two friends.

I swung that baseball bat with all my might, the ball sailing far for a home run. I couldn't have been more proud of myself! But then, it hit Joe's mom in the head. Everyone started freaking out, and before I could say 'I'm sorry', Joe's mom was gone. He stopped talking to me after that day, no matter how many times I tried to apologize. So I had to show him that I was truly sorry. So, with a heavy heart, I gave him my prized baseball cards.


Joe finds out the pastor is his real father.

It was really a shock to all of us. Me and Joe could only gape like freshly caught tuna when the reverend himself came out and said he was Joe's father. Joe was angry. Angry, distraught, in denial, and all other emotions that one could think of. Anything but happy or joyful. He and I left, Joe crying his eyes out at the revelation. He'll get through it though, he somehow always does.


Simon saves the children on the drowning bus, but Simon dies as soon as he and Joe have one last talk.

My mind was one huge blur after I got dragged out of the freezing, winter water. My lungs felt so tired and strained to their limits, but it was worth knowing that I saved that boy from a lake coffin. And when Joe came to visit for the last time, I don't know why I didn't cry. I guess the fact that I had served a good purpose was enough for me to go to heaven without regrets.


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Theme

The theme I took from this story is that everyone has a purpose, but we need to get up and find that purpose. Simon says constantly throughout the movie "God has a plan for all of us, even me." (Simon Birch). Now even if you aren't a religious person, you can still have a reason to be alive. Simon always does his best to make people happy, for example when he helped the boy at the Christmas Pageant. He doesn't sit back waiting for someone else to come help the boy, he walks over and handles the situation himself. Also, when the bus was sinking into the lake (or pond) and the driver bailed, it was SImon that got everyone under control and out of the bus safely (with the help of Joe).


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