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In "Lord of the Flies", why is it important that the boys got to the island after an...

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pierreklutse11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 17, 2013 at 7:44 PM via web

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In "Lord of the Flies", why is it important that the boys got to the island after an attack?

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caledon | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted November 17, 2013 at 9:25 PM (Answer #1)

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There are at least two important reasons for staging this story in the wake of an attack:

  1. The attack provides an "excuse", so to speak, for the boys to be on the island without a single adult. We would assume that a group of adults, charged with caring for a group of boys, would be virtually inseparable from them. The attack is a means of getting the adults out of the equation, so we can see how the boys will act on their own. The attack itself isn't terribly important.
  2. The attack affects the initial tone of the story; it provides a sense of anonymous danger, of being hunted, of it not being safe, not on this island or anywhere else. The fact that the attack is not described and the attackers not named makes the attack into a sort of primal force of nature; death has brought the boys to this island, and there is nothing and no one who can protect them from it. This sense of dread manifests in the form of the Beast.

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