How does lord of the flies, relate to world war two, with events that happens in the book and characters in the book.

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Kristen Lentz eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Lord of the Flies relates strongly to events from World War II.  William Golding joined the Royal Navy in World War II and "had seen action against battleships, submarines, and aircraft" ("Notes onLord of the Flies"204).  The author uses World War II as a backdrop to the novel, but also as an influence on the action and plot of the story. 

  • At the beginning of the novel, the reader learns that the boys' airplane has crashed on the deserted island.  Piggy speculates, "We was attacked" (8). 
  • The war influences the boys' behavior and actions.  Like when Ralph pretends to be a "fighter-plane, with wings swept back, and machine-gunned Piggy" (11).
  • Ralph's dad is a "commander in the Navy" (13). 
  • Piggy persists in his fears that no one knows where they have been stranded, claiming "Didn't you hear what the pilot said? About the atom bomb? They're all dead."  Piggy's reference to the atom bomb suggests that the story takes place at the end of World War II, after the first bomb has been dropped on Hiroshima.
  • The boy's exclamations reflect their knowledge of the war, and perhaps the presence of the war and bombing in their daily lives.  When the three boys drop the "great rock" down the mountain side, one of them exclaims: "Like a bomb!" (28)
  • In the chapter "Beast from the Air," Golding alludes to an air-fight, a battle in the sky:

"But there were other lights in the sky, that moved fast, winked, or went out, though not even a faint popping came down from the battle fought at ten miles' height.  But a sign came down from the world of grown-ups [...] There was a sudden bright explosion and corkscrew trail across the sky" (95).

  • After this fight between planes near the island, a dead parachuter drops on to the mountain, scaring the boys, who all believe it to be a fearsome beast.
  • In the end of the novel, the boys are rescued by a sharp looking officer in a crisp white uniform with a "cutter, her bows hauled up and held by two ratings.  In the stern-sheets another rating held a sub-machine gun" (200).  Later, the narrator points out a "trim cruiser in the distance" (202).  This type of ship was mostly used to protect aircraft carriers and battleships during convoys from air or submarine attack.

"Notes on Lord of the Flies" by E.L. Epstein. appears in this printing of the novel:  Golding, William.  Lord of the Flies.  New York: Perigree Books, 2006.

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Lord of the Flies

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