In Lord of the Flies,chapter one, what is the setting and the situation the boys find themselves in?

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jrinkel eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In William Golding's Lord of the Flies, the group of boys are on their way home when their plane crashes near a deserted island. The island is described in Chapter 1 of the text. An educational online version can be found here.

"the 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."

The boys find themselves without any adult supervision, so they begin the process of setting up a plan of survival for themselves by electing a leader from the group.  They look for ways to create an organized and civilized society; this leads to the conflict. This conflict between characters also occurs in Chapter 1.

Kristen Lentz eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The exposition of Lord of the Flies immediately drops the reader into the middle of the action without providing any narrative back story on the characters' current situation; instead, the reader must gather clues from Golding's detailed descriptions of the landscape and the boys' various comments in order to complete their understanding of setting. 

From the onset of the novel, Golding uses temperature and climate in phrases like "bath of heat" to develop the readers' knowledge and sense of place.  Piggy and Ralph's conversation provides further clues, like Ralph's supposition that this must be an island because "there's a reef out in the sea" and the fact that there may be no adults (8).  By the end of the first chapter, Golding has strongly established the premise of his novel--stranded boys who must now fend for themselves on a deserted island.


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Lord of the Flies

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