What language techniques did Golding use in Lord of the Flies?

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accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Clearly as this novel is a renowned example of literature we can assume that there are many excellent examples of language techniques such as imagery and figurative language that are used to make the novel come alive to the reader. I am going to focus on one particular paragraph to highlight some of these, but really, the novel is full of them, so after reading my example I would really encourage you to examine the novel again and try and find your own examples. Consider this quote:

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. The ground beneath them was a bank covered with coarse grass, torn everywhere by the upheavals of fallen trees, scattered with decaying coconuts and palm saplings. Behind this was the darkness of the forest proper and the open space of the scar. Ralph stood, one hand against a grey trunk, and screwed up his eyes against the shimmering water. Out here, perhaps a mile away, the white surf flinked on a coral reef, and beyond that the open sea was dark blue. Within the irregular arc of coral the lagoon was still as a mountain lake - blue of all shades and shadowy green and purple. The beach between the palm terrace and the water was a thin stick, endless apparently, for to Ralph's left the perspectives of palm and beach and water drew to a point at infinity; and always, almost visible, was the heat.

This is an excellent example of imagery - where writers appeal to the five senses to build a picture and make it real to the reader. Also, there are some great examples of figurative language. Consider how the leaves of the palm trees are described as "feathers" - this metaphor comparing them to birds' feathers, but also emphasising the shade and softness that they provide. The description of the ground with its "coarse grass, torn everywhere" and "fallen trees" and "decaying coconuts" and the mention of the "scar" create stark visual images that help us imagine the impact of the plane on the land. Note too the use of colour to describe the water of the lagoon, which is "blue of all shades and shadowy green and purple." Then finally consider the metaphor which describes the beach as a "thin stick", separating the palm trees from the water.

Hope this helps! Now go and look for some more examples yourself! Good luck!

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Lord of the Flies

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