Explain the importance of the setting in Lord of the Flies.I just wonder if things would have been the same in a different place or era.    **there is a 2008 answer

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lsumner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Lord of the Flies, the setting is extremely important. It is important knowing the boys cannot turn to adults for help. Being totally isolated on an island, with no adult supervision and discipline, the boys give in to savage-like behavior. The setting is important in that the boys have to hunt for food. There is no food, except for fruit, on the island. The boys are forced to search for food. It is during the hunt that the boys become savage-like.

In the beginning, it was difficult for Jack to kill a pig. He let the first pig get away, more or less, out of fear of killing it. As he begins to kill pigs on a regular basis, he becomes more savage. The setting cooperates with his intentions which are becoming more evil.

Because the boys are stranded on an island, they are exposed to dangers that cause the boys to abandon discipline. For example, the beast or imagination of the beast is becoming a part of the setting. Jack and his hunters become savage-like to contend with the beast. The setting offers Jack and his hunters an outlet to show their savage behavior. Indeed, the setting is ideal for exposing the boys' savagery. Being alone on an island, with a build up of anger at being stranded, the setting takes on a harsh feeling:

Thus the setting reinforces Golding's view of human nature as a struggle of good intentions and positive concepts like love and faith against the harshness of nature and human failings like anger.

missy575 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The setting in The Lord of the Flies is rather ironic isn't it? I mean, usually a deserted tropical island seems rather tranquil and attractive to people today. However, the abandonment of these children presented a reflection of the current day trouble of 1940s England. Due to World War II, children were being uprooted and put into new places often having the responsibility of learning to live with new circumstances entirely on their own. I think the tropical island suggests the nature of this very real experience for children in that day: at first the attraction of the new presents itself as fun, but as time goes on the real and present dangers of the circumstances surface and attack the children.

These children were also a microcosm of a society. Much writing in the 1940s expressed displeasure with war and demonstrated the human potential to destroy each other. This piece is no different. What I like about this piece in particular is how that capacity to take life from one another literally destroys Ralph's psyche by the end of the story.

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Lord of the Flies

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