How is the setting presented in the first chapter of the novel Lord of the Flies?

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the first chapter of the novel, Golding describes the uninhabited island. Golding writes,

"The shore was fledged with palm trees. These stood or leaned or reclined against the light and their green feathers were a hundred feet up in the air. The ground beneath them was a bank covered with coarse grass, torn everywhere by the upheavals of fallen trees, scattered with decaying coconuts and palm saplings. Behind this was the darkness of the forest proper and the open space of the scar...Out there, perhaps a mile away, the white surf flinked on a coral reef, beyond that the open sea was dark blue" (10).

Although Golding depicts a beautiful island, the description of the "dark forest" and "scar" provide an ominous tone. The vast ocean also illustrates that the boys are completely alone on the island away from civilization. Golding then describes the meeting platform and natural bathing pool. As Ralph, Simon, and Jack explore the island, they discover that it is boat shaped and notice a detached peninsula of rock that will eventually become Jack's Castle Rock. There are also beautiful flowers, pig trails, and an abundance of fruit. The uninhabited island reflects a type of paradise that symbolically represents Eden. The children's descent into savagery mimics Adam and Eve's temptation and fall. Also, Golding created an island where the boys could easily find raw materials and an abundance of food. Without a continual struggle to provide for themselves, Golding could focus on the social issues within the group.

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Lord of the Flies

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