There are clear descriptions of locations on the island throughout the novel. At the beginning of the first chapter, the shore is described:
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.
This description coninues with images of the trees, the grass, and the outskirts of the forest.
Later, in Chapter 9, the mountain is described in the midst of a storm:
Over the island the build-up of clouds continued. A steady current of heated air rose all day from the mountain and was thrust to ten thousand feet; revolving masses of gas piled up the static until the air was ready to explode.
Often Golding uses the descriptions of places on the island to develop the tone of the scene and to foreshadow events to come. The island holds much mystery and potential at the beginning of the novel, yet by Chapter 9, there is incredible tension among the boys that foreshadows the first death. Descriptions of other places on the island are equally representative: the darkness of the forest showing the fear of the boys, the sparkling waters that provide only a mirage of being rescued.
In chapter one as the boys are first exploring the island, they make an ascent so they can get a better view of their surroundings. As they approach the mountain, it is described as follows:
"The most usual feature of the rock was a pink cliff surmounted by a skewed block; and that again surmounted, and that again, till the pinkness became a stack of balanced rock projecting through the looped fantasy of the forest creepers."
Simon, a boy comfortable with solitude, finds a special, isolated place that some critics view as a sanctuary. It is described in chapter three as
"...a place where more sunshine fell. Since they had not so far to go for light the creepers had woven a great mat that hung at the side of an open space in the jungle; for here a patch of rock came close to the surface and would not allow more than little plants and ferns to grow. The whole space was walled with dark aromatic bushes, and was a bowl of heat and light."
In chapter six, as tensions among the boys escalate, Ralph walks with Jack and the others in search of the beast. From a new vantage point,
"He paused on the narrow neck and looked down. Soon, in a matter of centuries, the sea would make an island of the castle. On the right hand was the lagoon, troubled by the open sea; and on the left— Ralph shuddered. The lagoon had protected them from the Pacific: and for some reason only Jack had gone right down to the water on the other side. Now he saw the landsman’s view of the swell and it seemed like the breathing of some stupendous creature. Slowly the waters sank among the rocks, revealing pink tables of granite, strange growths of coral, polyp, and weed. Down, down, the waters went, whispering like the wind among the heads of the forest. There was one flat rock there, spread like a table, and the waters sucking down on the four weedy sides made them seem like cliffs. Then the sleeping leviathan breathed out, the waters rose, the weed streamed, and the water boiled over the table rock with a roar. There was no sense of the passage of waves; only this minute-long fall and rise and fall."
Golding makes many contrasts between the areas that the boys (except for Simon) despoil in their crude efforts to "civilize" the island and the pristine, untouched areas. Through his use of the settings in the novel, Golding observes and condemns man's disregard for the beauty of nature, but at the same time he argues that nature is elemental and powerful and has the capacity to outlast mankind.