What are 5 phrases or descriptions that identify the setting of Lord of the Flies?In what ways does the setting influence the characters’ attitudes?  Actions?  How is the setting important to...

What are 5 phrases or descriptions that identify the setting of Lord of the Flies?

In what ways does the setting influence the characters’ attitudes? 
Actions?  How is the setting important to the meaning of the work?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Read as an allegory, the island setting of William Golding's Lord of the Flies can be perceived as a type of Eden.  Upon his arrival, Ralph looks around him:

Here at last was the imagined but never fully realized place leaping into real life.

Upon discovering the conch, Piggy instructs Ralph about blowing into the shell:

Ralph grasped the idea and hit the shell with air from his diaphragm.  Immediately the thing sounded.  A deep, harsh note boomed under the palms, spread through the intricacies of the forest and echoed back from the pink granite of the mountin.  Clouds of birds rose from the tree-tops and something squealed and ran in the undergrowth.

As the boys begin to explore the island,

The three boys walked briskly on the sand.  The tide was low and there was a strip of weed-strewn beach that was almost as firm as road.  A kind of glamour was spread over them and the scene and they were conscious of the glamour and made happy by it....

Now towared the end of the afternoon, the mirages were settling a little.  They found the end of the island, quite distinct, and not magicked out of shape or sense.  There was a jumble of the usual squareness, with one great block sitting out in the lagoon.  Sea birds were nesting there.

When the boys try climbing the mountain, they notice that there is "jungly stuff" and pink rock:

Some unknown force had wrenched and shattered these cubes so that they lay askew, often piled diminishingly on each other.  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.  Where the pink cliffs rose out of the ground there were often narrow tracks winding upwards.  They could edge along them, deep in the plant world, their faces to the rock....Here the roots and stems of creeper were in such tangles that the obys had to thread through them like pliant needles.

The primitive island with its pink granite and creepers appears tropical, especially as it is bounded by the ocean and a lovely lagoon.  The boys are excited as they explore,especially Ralph and Jack and Simon.  They push over one of the great rocks, and it sounds like "an enraged monster" as it crashes to the ground.  Ralph declares, "This belongs to us" as he and the others notice a coral reef and find fruit and a piglet caught in the creepers.  Jack turns white as he is unable to kill the pig; he tells the others, "I was choosing a place."

In the first chapter, the boys establish themselves on a pristine island that is sure to lend itself to adventure, friendship, and direction.


missy575 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Setting is often revealed most specifically in the exposition of a story and Lord of the Flies is no different.

The story opens with,

The boy with fair hair lowered himself down the last few feet of rock and began to pick his way toward the lagoon.

From these first few lines we can thell the cliff or rock structure he was climbing down was rather large, this isn't on the playground. Moving toward a lagoon almost instantly led me to believe we are on an island or at least the coast. Once discovered it is an island, the boys realize their ultimate removal from the society they knew. What to do without that society occurs as the book unfolds and we watch different boys deal with their new reality. For some it takes quite some time to resort to barbarism, for others, it's pretty quick.

The path the plane carved into the jungle was regularly called a "scar". This aspect of the setting is a constant reminder to the boys of their broken condition, and their separation from their families, a very real scar to all of them.

This particular setting lends means for the author to demonstrate many of the archetypes of mankind. Had these kids not been completely separated from society, we would not have seen villians, Christ-figures, or side-kicks play out in front of us.

You are asking for quite a bit in one question... maybe another editor can contribute more.

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Lord of the Flies

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