What allusion is made in chapter 2? Why is it referenced?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The allusion in Chapter 2 is to a novel called Coral Island, an adventure story for boys of boys stranded on a coral island. It is clear that in this chapter this allusion excites some of the boys who have read this tale - they think they will have similar adventures and enjoy themselves before being rescued. However, linked to the larger purpose of this Chapter, we can see that this romantic notion of their experience quickly fades away into bickering. Indeed, this chapter recounts the slide from organisation to chaos that we see continued in the rest of the novel. As the meeting begins, we begin to have some hope in the ability of the boys to organise themselves. The idea of the conch seems to be working, and they are making plans and then carrying them out. However, the introduction of the fear of the "beastie", Jack's obsession with hunting and the well-intentioned but badly-actioned plan of the signal fire allow this organisation to break down. Despite their intentions, the inability of the boys to stay focussed on their plans results in disaster and the fire perhaps killing one of their number, and they learn the hard way that their actions can result in disaster and destruction rather than salvation. Therefore the allusion to Coral Island is rather sarcastic in some senses - it is in direct contrast to the actual experiences of the boys.

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