In what time period does Lord of the Flies take place?

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gmuss25 | Elementary School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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In the final draft of Lord of the Flies, William Golding does not specify a time and date when the novel takes place. One can infer that the novel might take place around WWII. Golding was a veteran who served in the Royal Navy during WWII and fought during the invasion of Normandy. He even mentions the atomic bomb throughout the story, which is a useful indicator for the approximate time period. However, before publishing the novel in 1954, Faber and Faber made substantial edits to Golding's initial draft. Golding originally ends the draft with the time and date, "16.00, 2nd October 1952." Although the final copy does not include the time and date, Golding clearly sets the novel in the early 1950s, shortly after WWII ends. 

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readerofbooks | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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To be completely accurate, there is no exact date that is given as the context of the novel. However, we can make a few deductions. If we do this, World War II makes the most sense.

First, there was a war going on. The parachutist who fell from the sky was a war victim in a plane fight. Also there is the detail that Ralph’s father was a commander in the navy.

Second, there is mention of the Atomic bomb, which was used in World War II. Here is what Piggy says:

Piggy shook his head, put on his flashing glasses and looked down at Ralph.

“Not them. Didn’t you hear what the pilot said? About the atom bomb? They’re all dead.”

Third, at the end of the novel a soldier in a crisp uniform found the boys. When we also add the fact that William Golding served in the Royal Navy and served in the battle of Normandy, World War II is our best guess. 

ladyvols1's profile pic

ladyvols1 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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William Golding never specifically mentions an exact time frame in "Lord of the Flies."  We know from various sources about Golding that he had just gone through WWII.  We also know in the story that Piggy says, "they're all dead."  He talks about the plane being attacked, no one knowing where they are and the bombings.  We infer from Golding's story that this is during another war only this one has the use of nuclear bombs to wipe out man-kind and the boys were being taken out of harms way from England.  The plan was shot down and they boys ended up on an island.

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