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Setting - William Golding's Lord of the Flies Lord of the Flies takes place on an island but one that Golding never gives an exact location. Although he does not tell us where the island is, he describes it in detail. Golding tells us it has a jungle at one end, with a rocky mountain above it. At the opposite side is the lagoon where the boys go to bathe and where they first met after the crash. Near there, up the mountain, is a platform where it was decided a fire would stay lit in hope of rescue. This was in the ideal position, having a view of the ocean, therefore allowing any passing planes or boats to spot them and rescue them. It was on this mountain that the parachutist was also spotted by the boys, and mistaken for a beast. Inland, the jungle served many purposes. In the dense jungle, food was plentiful, and the plants served as a means of escape for Ralph during his run from Jack. Simon stayed there during his stage of insanity, and the used the plants to build shelter. The boys plane was shot down during an atomic war. This set the stage for the problems that would arise on the island among the boys. Their behavior reflects their surroundings, as they acted just like they were participating in the war. The island is a very isolated place with absolutely no contact with the outside war. The only way that they could contact an outsider was by chance, if a plane or boat happened to spot them. These boys from boarding school were in some respect lucky to land on this island, for it did have its advantages. There was food, wildlife, and fresh water. It was not their surroundings, but themselves that led to the downfall of their civilisation.

Key points about setting:

· Golding sets his story on an uninhabited, unspoiled island in order to isolate and insulate his characters from the rest of the world, and specifically from adult influences.

· Golding creates a microcosm (a miniature version of the world) so that he can comment on the larger world (the macrocosm).

· When we examine the nature of his microcosm, Golding makes us consider the real world and the condition of humanity.

· Golding's uses descriptions of the vegetation and natural life on the island to create and reinforce mood. His descriptions also reflect the continuing beauty in nature.

· Golding makes sure that the island is safe, with nothing to harm them, so that any fear is brought with the boys.

· Nature is consistently shown as balanced and unified, in contrast to the divisions that appear among the boys.

· The jungle is shown as a living thing eg. trees often personified: the 'forest stirred, roared, flailed'

· Nature can be dangerous - 'enduring the sun's enmity' – but generally shown as neither kind nor hostile, but simply indifferent to the boys.

· Food, as a basic need, is a natural resource of the island but it has painful repercussions for the inexperienced children - fruit gives them diarrhoea and the pigs – a needed source of protein, also causes great divisions.

· The sea both literally and figuratively represents the large distance between the boys and the civilisation from which they are cut off.

· The storm parallels and echoes the increasing tension and exploding violence of the boys' behaviour leading up to the murder of Simon.

· Although the storm and lightning are natural phenomena, they contrast with the usual weather conditions on the island.
· Heat appears in different ways in the novel, eg. natural heat, like the temperature of the island: 'became a threatening weight.’

· The time of day also affects the boys -
The night and darkness are times of fear; the beast lands at night, is first seen at night, Simon is killed etc
The morning is a time of pleasure, when 'life so full that hope was not necessary'



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