Sam and Eric, who quickly become known as ‘Samneric’, are identical twins, and completely inseparable. They provide some comic relief from their first introduction, as Piggy is unable to tell them apart, which causes good-natured laughter. Sam and Eric do everything together, although this sometimes leads to problems.
‘They were the twins, on duty at the fire. In theory one should have been asleep and one on watch. But they could never manage to do things sensibly if that meant acting independently, and since staying awake all night was impossible, they had both gone to sleep.’ (104)
While out collecting firewood, Sam and Eric are the first of the boys to actually see the ‘beast’ and they are terrified: ‘They became motionless, gripped in each other’s arms’ (106). They rush to tell Ralph and the other boys what they have seen, and a hunting party sets out to find it. Only Simon is able to understand that there isn’t a beast, but no one listens to him as he approaches the beach. Sam and Eric take part in the terrifying attack on Simon, although they tell Ralph and Piggy that they ‘got lost’ (174). Piggy also denies (untruthfully) his and Ralph’s involvement by saying they ‘left early’ (175). However, there are injuries on Sam and Eric’s faces, and the ‘memory of the dance that none of them had attended shook all four boys convulsively’ (175).
When democracy breaks down on the island, Sam and Eric choose to stay with Ralph and Piggy. Together, they confront Jack and his tribe after Piggy’s glasses are stolen. Sam and Eric are captured by Jack and are forced to join him after torture from Roger, who they call a ‘terror’ (210). In the final confrontation between Ralph and the tribe, the twins try to help by warning Ralph that Roger has ‘sharpened a stick at both ends’ (211). However, they are eventually forced to reveal where Ralph is hiding. Despite Sam and Eric giving him food, and trying to keep his presence a secret, Ralph begins to wonder whether they are actually on his side at all: ‘Samneric were somewhere in that line, and hating it. Or were they?’ (218)