In Lord of the Flies, Golding wrote: "Like a myriad of tiny teeth in a saw,the transparencies came scavenging over the beach." What does he mean?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In chapter four, Henry gets tired of playing with the other littluns and travels down to the beach on his own as Roger follows him from a distance. Henry proceeds to walk down to the water's edge, where he begins to play with the tiny transparencies. Golding writes that the tiny transparencies have "impalpable organs" that examine the unknown beach for food or any type of "detritus" to consume. Golding then writes, "Like a myriad of tiny teeth in a saw, the transparencies came scavenging over the beach" (85). Golding utilizes a simile to compare the numerous teeth of the tiny transparencies to a saw as the small creatures scavenge the surrounding beach area for food. Overall, Golding is describing the appearance and action of the tiny transparencies that traverse the beach near the water's edge. They have a multitude of teeth, are extremely tiny, and instinctually travel along the water's edge in search of food. Henry finds these tiny transparencies to be fascinating and plays with them as Roger begins to throw stones in his direction from the cover of the nearby forest.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

This passage is found in Chapter 4 in a description of the beach where Henry, one of the littluns, plays at the water's edge. The "transparencies" are the tiny water creatures that come in with the tide and are left behind on the sand where they search for any bits of food that might be found. The simile comparing them to the teeth in a saw suggests an image of their "scavenging" much as one might draw a fine-toothed saw through the sand encountering anything in its path. The tiny creatures were efficient with their "impalpable organs of sense" as they "examined" the sandy beach.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial