Lord of the Flies Questions and Answers
by William Golding

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What are some phrases which describe the scenery in Lord of the Flies?

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From the start, some of the phrases with describe the scenery of flora and fauna on the island sound ominous. For instance, in chapter 1, a boy

was clambering heavily among the creepers and broken trunks when a bird, a vision of red and yellow, flashed upwards with a witch-like cry ...

Creepers, broken, and witch-like are descriptive words which create an unsettling tone. In fact, the word "creeper" is used 38 times in the novel to describe the thick jungle vines, as in

I can’t hardly move with all these creeper things.

In chapter 4, too, the scenery is described in terms of a mirage:

Strange things happened at midday. The glittering sea rose up, moved apart in planes of blatant impossibility; the coral reef and the few stunted palms that clung to the more elevated parts would float up into the sky, would quiver, be plucked apart, run like raindrops on a wire or be repeated as in an odd succession of mirrors.

Words like "strange," "stunted," "plucked apart," and "odd" add to sense of the setting as eery or off-kilter. It also contains "snapping sharks," while the sun is likened to an "angry eye."

In chapter 9, the scenery continues to be ominous and oppressive. For example:

revolving masses of gas piled up the static until the air was ready to explode.

We learn, too, of a "brassy glare" and that nothing "prospered" but flies. There is a sense of foreboding in this description of setting:

Colors drained from water and trees and pink surfaces of rock, and the white and brown clouds brooded.

By the end of the novel, after the huge fire:

the island was scorched up like dead wood

There is much sense of desolation and foreboding in this setting, which reinforces the theme that evil will explode and destroy in a natural, untamed setting.

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In the opening chapter, Golding uses descriptive language to give us some idea of what the island looks like but also to foreshadow how the boys will use certain features of the natural landscape for both good and ill.

For example, we're told that the plan trees form "a criss-cross pattern of trunks, very convenient to sit on." The palms also "made a green roof, covered on the underside with a quivering tangle of reflections from the lagoon," thus providing the boys with a natural canopy to shield them from the harshness of the noonday sun.

Golding also refers to the existence of a mountain on the island. Straight away, we start to think how it can be used for a handy look-out to spot rescue ships or plains.

It would seem, then, that everything is set up nicely for the boys to make a pretty decent home for themselves while they wait to be rescued. It's such a pity, then, that they choose instead to degenerate into savagery.

Further Reading:

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Nobel Prize-winning author William Golding's 1954 novel Lord of the Flies describes the increasing tribalism and violence of a group of British boys who have become stranded on an uninhabited island. Though the text is dialog-heavy, from an early point in the story Golding nonetheless helps the reader visualize the boys' predicament by painting mental images of the land in which they find themselves marooned.

A few examples of phrases which describe the scenery of the island follow.

In chapter 1, Golding offers readers the following image of the island's scenery:

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.

In chapter 3, Golding describes the flora of the island thus:

Tall trunks bore unexpected pale flowers all the way up to the dark canopy where life went on clamorously.

Chapter 8 finds Golding using an adjective-filled sentence to offer further mental imagery of the boys' surroundings:

Much of it was damply rotten and and full of insects that scurried; logs had to be lifted from the soil with care or they crumbled into sodden powder.

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