Two separate illustrations of an animal head and a fire on a mountain

Lord of the Flies

by William Golding

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What is the "scar" on the island in Lord of the Flies?

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The boys' crash-landing left a "long scar smashed into the jungle" (7).  Golding uses the imagery of the scar, a flesh wound, as a symbol for the destructive nature of humanity.  Ralph and Piggy immediately notice the damage to the island where the wreckage of the plane left broken trees.  Ralph "touched a jagged end of a trunk" and wondered aloud to Piggy what happened to the fuselage of the plane.  Piggy's reply conjures more imagery of the plane's destructive path carved onto the island:

"That storm dragged it out to sea.  It wasn't half dangerous with all them tree trunks falling..." (8).

Golding's imagery of the scar warns of man's innate capability to destroy; the scar is a visual symbol that foreshadows deeper themes within the novel.

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In Lord of the Flies, what is the "scar"?

The scar refers to the area of the island that is damaged when the plane carrying the boys crashes into it.  The plane makes an indention on the beach that continues into the trees at its edge.  Symbolically, the scar represents the encroachment of civilization into the previously natural and undisturbed island.  If the island is a microcosm of the world and the boys of society in general, then Golding is commenting on the ways in which society has corrupted and destroyed the natural world.  This makes sense in the context of the backdrop of the novel, which is one of a society at war.  The boys are trying to escape the war when they find themselves on the island; and ironically, it is this war, with its patrolling ships, that leads to the boys' rescue.

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What is the scar in Lord of the Flies by William Golding?

Chapter one of William Golding's Lord of the Flies is full of little bits of information which must be pieced together by the reader, and the scar to which you refer is one of them. Though it is one of the first things Golding describes for us, we are not sure what it is for several more pages. 

Ralph is the first of the boys we meet, and he is walking near the scar when he meets another boy, also walking near the scar.

All round him the long scar smashed into the jungle was a bath of heat. He [Ralph] 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; and this cry was echoed by another.
“Hi!” it said. “Wait a minute!” The undergrowth at the side of the scar was shaken and a multitude of raindrops fell pattering.

Though the jungle foliage is obviously thick around them, some tree trunks are broken and heat is emanating from the scar, which is obviously a clearing smashed through the middle of the jungle. 

The two boys, Ralph and Piggy, talk about what caused them to be here on this island, and it is the same incident which created the scar. They were on an airplane, there was a man with a megaphone, and there were other boys on the plane. Piggy wonders where the pilot is, and Ralph gives his opinion:

“He must have flown off after he dropped us. He couldn’t land here. Not in a place with wheels.”

“We was attacked [said Piggy]! When we was coming down I looked through one of them windows. I saw the other part of the plane. There were flames coming out of it.” He looked up and down the scar. “And this is what the cabin done.”

The fair boy [Ralph] reached out and touched the jagged end of a trunk.... “What happened to it?” he asked. “Where’s it got to now?”
“That storm dragged it out to sea. It wasn’t half dangerous with all them tree trunks falling.”

So, the scar is the result of the plane, or at least the cabin of the plane, crashing through the jungle on its way to its final resting place in the ocean. The plane had been hit by something in some kind of an attack (Piggy later says he heard about an atom bomb, which reveals the setting of the story as World War I); the pilot somehow managed to deposit the boys on the island but was unable to save himself or "the man with the megaphone."

In truth, the logistics of such an airplane crash are a little confusing, since all the boys managed to get out of the plane safely (and no one mentions parachutes), yet the plane was moving with enough velocity and force to create a huge gash in the trees and foliage of the jungle. (Ralph stands on his head in the scar when he realizes there are no adults on the island, so it is a substantial clearing.) This is a symbolic novel, however, and the most important things are that the boys are stranded here without any adults, they are here because of a war raging off the island (the boys were at boarding school and were being evacuated as the war encroached), and there is a great scar on the island--the very first symbol and foreshadowing of trouble ahead for these boys. 

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In Lord of The Flies, what is the "scar" on the island and what was it caused by?

In Lord of the Flies, a traumatic event takes place and a group of schoolboys, ranging in age from about six to twelve, are all stranded on an apparently deserted island, with "no grown-ups' to supervise them. Piggy, the most intelligent boy on the island and the one who will guide Ralph in his attempts to be a good leader, points out to Ralph that there is no-one to take any news of the boys back to England so they can be rescued. Before the boys landed on the island, he overheard the pilot talking about an atom bomb and so it is almost certain that everyone on the plane is dead. 

The boys arrive on the island via a chute or "passenger tube" from the plane which makes a "long scar" into the landscape of the jungle. The scar has cleared away some of the dense foliage allowing Ralph to stand in the middle of it and look around. Ralph and Piggy examine the effects of the passenger tube on a "jagged end of a trunk" as it has apparently done some damage and has left a scar of its own. The chute is nowhere to be seen, however and the boys consider the possibility that it was "dragged out to sea" during a storm. It is likely that there were still some boys in it at the time but the boys try not to dwell on that possibility and they continue exploring.  

It is significant that Golding calls it a scar because a scar would normally be found on the skin during or after the healing process and so the scar on the island carries its own significance as the boys must fight the forces of evil. Those who survive will carry a psychological "scar" forever.  

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In Lord of The Flies, what is the "scar" on the island and what was it caused by?

The scar was the spot where the plane crashed. It formed a scar because by crashing in pristine land it left a conspicuous spot of broken trees. The scar is also symbolic: it shows the savagery of human beings as the destruction caused to the pristine land is done by a product of man (the plane) and it occurred the moment they landed on the island. The scar also serves as a reminder of this destructive nature and can be seen to build on the plot of the story. Ralph, Jack and Simon, who together represent different human qualities, arrive at the highest point of the island and noticed its pristine nature including the “scar”. Ralph then says that “this belongs to us”. In this case he not only accepts the good which is the pristine island but also the destructive nature represented by the “scar”.

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In Lord of The Flies, what is the "scar" on the island and what was it caused by?

The "scar" on the island is the plane crash site. Until the crash, the island was untouched by humanity. So, in a larger sense, the "scar" represents the destructive nature of human beings.

While Golding might have been drawing the contrast between the belligerence of humanity and the purity of nature, it's well to remember that nature can be just as destructive on own its own... witness the awesome power of the countless natural disasters throughout history.

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