Figurative Language In Lord Of The Flies

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Written as a figurative work itself, the allegory Lord of the Flies contains many examples of evocative literary language in the first two chapters.

Metaphor - an unstated comparison between two unlike things or people.

  • In the opening paragraph of the novel, the path of the crashed airplane is called a "long scar smashed into the jungle," and it has made "a bath of heat."
  • A bird is called "a vision of red and yellow" that flies upward.
  • The leaves of the palm trees along the shore are "green feathers," and they make "a green roof."
  • As Ralph realizes that he is on a beautiful Eden-like island, he emits "bass strings of delight." Here, he thinks is "coral island"--a comparison to Ballantyne's novel.
  • The beach stops at one point where "a great plaform of pink granite" rises.

Simile - a stated comparison between unlike things or people.

  • The bird that is startled by Ralph and Piggy screams with a "witch-like cry."
  • Ralph pulls off his shirt and stands amid the "skull-like coconuts."
  • The lagoon that the boys discover is "as still as a mountain lake."
  • The boys from the choir arrive and are "panting like dogs."
  • As Ralph lolls in the water, "Sleep enveloped him like the swathing mirages...."
  • One boy describes a fearful "beastie," a "snake-like thing."

Personification - The attribution of human qualities to that which is non-human

  • In the above description of Ralph lolling in the water, the mirages "were wrestling with the brillance of the lagoon."
  • Broken pieces of the plane are described as having been "dragged out to sea."
  • The huge ledge of pink granite "thrust up uncompromisingly through forest..."
  • As Ralph dives and swims, "a golden light danced..."

Imagery - Language that appeals to the senses.

  • Much color imagery is used as Ralph's body is "golden," "the white surf" hits a "coral reef," the sea is a "dark blue," "shadowy green and purple." The granite rocks are "pink" and the conch is significantly a "fading pink." One little boy has a "mulberry-colored birthmark.