Lord of the Flies Questions and Answers
by William Golding

Lord of the Flies book cover
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Please give a description of the island in William Golding's Lord of the Flies.

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Lori Steinbach eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In the opening paragraph of William Golding's Lord of the Flies, the author makes it clear that this is a tropical island. It is lush and green and beautiful--and running right through all this beautiful green lushness is a "scar" left by the cabin of the airplane when it crashed last night. This prepares us for both beauty and ugliness on the rest of the island.

This is an island, so of course there is a beach; this particular beach also has a lagoon. This will become the meeting place for the boys throughout the novel.

[T]he beach was interrupted abruptly by the square motif of the landscape; a great platform of pink granite thrust up uncompromisingly through forest and terrace and sand and lagoon to make a raised jetty four feet high. The top of this was covered with a thin layer of soil and coarse grass and shaded with young palm trees. There was not enough soil for them to grow to any height and when they reached perhaps twenty feet they fell and dried, forming a criss-cross pattern of trunks, very convenient to sit on. The palms that still stood made a green roof, covered on the underside with a quivering tangle of reflections from the lagoon.

Here the boys will make plans and have some fun, but it will also be the last place where civilized behavior will exist. Eventually the lagoon will be abandoned altogether.

The island also has a mountain. When Jack, Ralph, and Simon explore the mountain, they discover an entirely different terrain than the jungle or the beach. Here there are large rocks and boulders, and they form a kind of structure with a bridge which the boys call a "fort." It is this fort which will eventually become the headquarters for Jack and his tribe of "savages."

Clearly this is a beautiful tropical island; however, it is a flawed beauty, symbolic of the evil which comes from having no restraints or authority. 

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livelovelaugh15 | Student

reeny that would be great!

im just having trouble trying to find the physical descriptions describe in the book.  i have found a couple but i need to find some other one better describing it.

reeny | Student

There are two "descriptions" you may want to explore. The physical description and the metaphorical meaning (Is the jungle similar to society in terms of comfort and danger).

The physical description can be easily summarized by re-reading and highlighting the author's adjectives...focus on the 5 senses and try to put yourself in the jungle the author describes. What are the smells (earth, decaying matter, sweet flowers), sounds (birds, footsteps, wind, animals), sights? What are the dangers? What nourishment and/or protection does the jungle offer. The author gives a very rich description....look for his descriptions not only through a narrator's eyes, but through the eyes of the boys. Each may see the jungle differently. By taking the impressions from 3 or 4 main characters, a vivid picture develops.

If your teacher wants a metaphorical description, that is a little more difficult (and usually reserved for senior year), but I will be happy to help!