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What is the irony of the dead parachutist landing on the mountain?

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tomatoboi | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 14, 2007 at 6:15 AM via web

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What is the irony of the dead parachutist landing on the mountain?

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gbeatty | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted April 14, 2007 at 8:40 AM (Answer #1)

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This was ironic in several ways. First, he (the parachutist) would have been bailing out, trying to save himself. Instead, he dies. Second, the boys had been looking for adults for some time to save them early in the book. Instead (and again), he dies. Third, when they finally see this man, what they'd hoped for, a sign of civilization and an adult, he is horrific, and scares them, rather than making them feel better.

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mrerick | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted April 14, 2007 at 9:04 AM (Answer #2)

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Also that he lands on the mountain, which is the one place on the island that we, as readers, associate with rescue (and survival). The fire on the mountain was made precisely for someone in a plane or on a boat to see. Instead, the dead someone from the plane forces them to relocate their fire to the beach and becomes yet another scary "beast" for the boys to deal with.

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cidwick | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted April 19, 2007 at 9:45 AM (Answer #3)

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The irony of the dead parachutist is that he represents the world of adults. But, hey, he's dead as a result of war caused by adults. War is chaos. Chaos is coming to the island because the boys cannot agree and be civilized. Ralph purports civilization, while Jack purports having fun. This is synonymous with governments' disagreements over fundamental philosophies of existence. So the dead parachutist is a casualty of politically motivated philosophical dichotomy. When two governments each offer "the solution," people become confused and only want what will make them feel safe. Ironically, the dead parachutist represents the adult world that is supposed to "save" the boys.

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