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The entire setting of William Golding's Lord of the Flies is integral to the story. The schoolboys have been left stranded on an island and their trouble begins immediately. Golding uses various kinds of imagery to depict each significant place on the island, such as calling the place where the airplane sliced through the brush "the scar." One of the most vivid and haunting uses of imagery can be found in the description of the patch of island which the boys burn what they intended to be a "small fire."
The most notable imagery in the description of the burning foliage is personification, as Golding gives life (a human characteristic) to the fire the boys start in chapter two. The flames "stirred" and "crawled away."
One patch touched a tree trunk and scrambled up like a bright squirrel.... Beneath the dark canopy of leaves and smoke the fire laid hold on the forest and began to gnaw.... The flames, as though they were a kind of wild life, crept as a jaguar creeps on its belly toward a line of birch-like saplings that fledged an outcrop of the pink rock.
Finally, the flame "leapt nimbly" until the "noises of the fire merged into a drum-roll that seemed to shake the mountain."
The use of personification gives actual life to the flames which so quickly consume the island greenery. Note also Golding's use of simile (in the quote above) as he compares the flames first to a scampering squirrel and then to a wild jaguar on the hunt. It is an apt comparison, as the fire consumes both the greenery and the little boy with the birthmark on his face.
Golding's use of imagery to create this particular setting allows the reader to imagine the terrifying terrain in which the first of many terrible things happen.
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