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While environmental conditions are prevalent throughout "Lord of the Flies," the weather seems to prevail in the beginnings of some chapters. In fact, the exposition describes much of the island on which the boys have been stranded; the heat is oppressive as the grey shirt clings to the back of Ralph and thorns have scratched and torn the knees of Piggy. As the others enter the scene
The sand, trembling beneath the heat haze, concealed many figures in its miles of length; boys were making their way toward the platform through the hot, dumb sand.
Some of the choir boys, led by Jack, have already removed their clothes. Blinded by the sun Ralph talks to the questioning Jack.
In this exposition, the weather seems to be working against the boys. Golding writes that "a storm of laughter arose" when Piggy speaks and he is put "outside" the group. There is also mention of a great rock that
loitered, poised on one toe, decided not to return, moved through the air, fell, struck, turned over, leapt droning through the air and smashed a deep hole in the canopy of the forest. Echoes and birds flew, white and pink dust floated, the forest further down shook as with the passage of an enraged monster; and then the island was still.
In this passage, the environmental conditions foreshadow another large rock that falls and strikes Piggy and tosses its victim through the air down into the ravine.
Throughout the chapters, the weather is mentioned, but often it is not propitious for the boys. For instance, in Chapter Five, Ralph has called a meeting. As he ceremoniously lays the conch on the tree trunk beside him, "What sunlight reached them was level." It is in this setting that Simon attempts to "express mankind's essential illness as "Ralph peered into the gloom," trying to understand. As the boys continue to talk of the Beast, "A thin wail out of the darkness chilled them as Percival Wemys Madison dies.
Certainly, in Golding's novel, as in so many, the weather reflects or presages circumstances and moods and feelings. In the next chapter, "Beast from Air," Chapter Six, the chapter opens as
There was no light left save that of the stars. The boys hear the ghostly lagoon. [The boys] lay restlessly and noisily among dry leaves, watching the patch of stars that was the opening toward the lagoon. A sliver of moon rose over the horizon...but there were other lights in the sky, that moved fast, winked or went out....There was a sudden bright explosion and ...there was a speck above the island, a figure dropping swiftly beneath a parachute, a figure that hung with dangling limbs....The figure fell and crumpled among the blue flowers of the mountain side.
A gentle breeze blows and a parachute flops and bangs and pulls. There are noises by a rock and two boys come forth from brushwood and dead leaves. "The bright morning was full of threats and the circle began to change." The beast has become real in this chapter and the wind has signaled his arrival. As the day ends, ashes from the fire blow into his face. He cannot see, but he hears Jack's voice. Ralph spots an odd shaped rock, but steps forward and behind him is "the sliver of moon that draws clear of the horizon. Something seated asleep with its head between his knees. As a
great wind roared in the forest, there was confusion in the darkness and the creature lifted its head, holding toward them the ruin of a face. It is the beast.
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