What Is The Irony Of The Dead Parachutist Landing On The Mountain
What is the irony of the dead parachutist landing on the mountain?
At the end of chapter 5, Ralph and Piggy lament about their situation and ask for a sign from the adult world. That night, a firefight takes place three miles above the island, and a paratrooper falls from the sky. The dead paratrooper slowly drifts towards the island and lands on the top of the mountain. Ironically, the dead paratrooper is technically a sign from the adult world, but it is ominous and only makes the boys' situation worse on the island. Instead of being a positive, hopeful message from the civilized world, the boys receive a dead paratrooper, which they mistake as the savage beast that inhabits the island. Their wish for a comforting sign from the world of adults only causes increased hysteria and anxiety throughout the group of boys.
The irony of the dead parachutist is that he represents the world of adults. But, hey, he's dead as a result of war caused by adults. War is chaos. Chaos is coming to the island because the boys cannot agree and be civilized. Ralph purports civilization, while Jack purports having fun. This is synonymous with governments' disagreements over fundamental philosophies of existence. So the dead parachutist is a casualty of politically motivated philosophical dichotomy. When two governments each offer "the solution," people become confused and only want what will make them feel safe. Ironically, the dead parachutist represents the adult world that is supposed to "save" the boys.
This was ironic in several ways. First, he (the parachutist) would have been bailing out, trying to save himself. Instead, he dies. Second, the boys had been looking for adults for some time to save them early in the book. Instead (and again), he dies. Third, when they finally see this man, what they'd hoped for, a sign of civilization and an adult, he is horrific, and scares them, rather than making them feel better.
Also that he lands on the mountain, which is the one place on the island that we, as readers, associate with rescue (and survival). The fire on the mountain was made precisely for someone in a plane or on a boat to see. Instead, the dead someone from the plane forces them to relocate their fire to the beach and becomes yet another scary "beast" for the boys to deal with.