How are symbols (including colors) used to suggest that the island is a living thing in chapter one?

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Kristen Lentz | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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In Chapter One of Lord of the Flies, William Golding uses color and detail to characterize the island as being alive and vibrant.  He carefully includes snatches of color throughout the introduction as the boys climb through the jungle and onto the beach:

"He was clambering heavily among the creepers and broken trunks when a bird, a vision of red and yellow, flashed upwards with a witch like cry" (7).

Golding paints the island in flashes of reds, yellows, blues, greens, and purples.  His use of color and imagery makes the island come alive; the scenery feels real to the reader, because Golding includes such vivid detail.  The bright colors of the island challenge and contrast the drab grays and blacks of the boy's school, and Golding shows the boys quickly stripping away the vestiges of their formal uniforms to be surrounded by the natural vibrance of the island.  At one point, Ralph looks down and sees the sand "thick over his black shoes," and it is as if the sand, the beach, the island, envelops him and the other boys.  Only seconds later he tugs off his socks and shoes.  The play of color in this first chapter of Lord of the Flies makes a bold statement about the ability of the island to draw the boys into the lush, sensory jungle environment.

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