How does figurative language describe the setting in Lord of the Flies?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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It is not surprising that Lord of the Flies has long been considered an allegorical tale of the Fall of Man, as the description of the island on which the boys find themselves castaways is Eden-like.

  • Symbolism

When Ralph and Piggy first encounter each other, it is after their plane has crashed. With flames coming from the ruin, there is the suggestion of symbolism to the boys' being born of fire on this strange place. Then, when Ralph and Piggy strip and immerse themselves in water, this act can symbolize a baptism into their new world. Indeed, there is a certain foreshadowing of the less-than-perfect world in the "scar" that the plane has made when it skidded in its crash, the original sin of war.

  • Other Figurative Language (metaphor, personification, and simile)

As Ralph looks around, he sees a shore "fledged with palm trees" that stand or lean or recline as if they are men (personification). Described in metaphoric terms, "their green feathers" [the leaves] are high in the air. The ground and grass beneath them are "torn," an implied comparison of them to a fabric of life (metaphor). Also, there is a simile, a comparison using the word as: "the lagoon is as still as a mountain lake."

Amidst this beauty Ralph tears off his shirt and shoes, exposing his "golden body," and stands among the "skull-like coconuts" (personification).

He patted the palm trunk softly, and forced at last to believe in the reality of the island laughed delightedly again and stood on his head. Then he sat back and looked at the water with bright, excited eyes.

A tropical island immeasurably colorful, with light and shadow, and ominous "skull-like" coconuts, suggests an island of primitive beauty, yet a beauty that can change to other conditions.

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