William Golding goes to great lengths to carefully describe the settings on the island on which the boys are stranded. The overall setting is an important aspect of the novel as a whole.
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“Within the diamond haze of the beach something dark was fumbling along… Then the creature stepped from the mirage on to clear sand, and they saw that the darkness was not all shadow but mostly clothing.” (Golding 19) The arrival of Jack Merridew and his militant choir is described as the imminent arrival of a savage beast or creature, foreshadowing Jack’s profound transformation from despotic choir leader to pig hunter to murderous dictator later in the novel.
“The smoke increased, sifted, rolled outward… Acres of black and yellow smoke rolled steadily toward the sea. At the sight of the flames and the irresistible course of the fire, the boys broke into shrill, excited cheering… Beneath the capering boys a quarter of a mile square of forest was savage with smoke and flame. The separate noises of the fire merged into a drum-roll that seemed to shake the mountain. “You got your small fire all right.” Startled, Ralph realized that the boys were falling still and silent, feeling the beginnings of awe at the power set free below them. The knowledge and the awe made him savage.” (Golding 44) The rapidly spreading fire that breaks loose on the mountain symbolizes how uncontrollable savagery is taking over civity, order, and democracy, which falls the poor stranded boys. This kickoffs the violent beginning of the island’s gradual descent into total disarray and a turning point in the book. The overwhelming heat which remains over the island adequately serves as a symbolic precursor to the novel’s conclusive theme of self-destruction.
“What would a beast eat?” – “Pig.” – ”We eat pig.” – ”Piggy!” (Golding 83) The ragged boys are still fearful of a beastie roaming aimlessly the island. The fundamental fact that the fearsome beast eats pig is significant and symbolic. The vicious beast of whom they speak is precisely the boys or the terrible evil within the boys. It is inevitably the boys who tragically kill Piggy later in the novel. In other cruel words, the beast does eat pig, metaphorically speaking.
“The beast struggled forward, broke the ring and fell over the steep edge of the rock to the sand by the water. At once the crowd surged after it, poured down the rock, leapt on to the beast, screamed, struck, bit, tore. There were no words, and no movements but the tearing of teeth and claws.” Simon represents moral goodness. At this moment, evil has taken over the boys, and they eliminate goodness from the island. Simon was the one with the valuable information of where the true evil lay. His message will now never be delivered. This complex interaction between good and evil is the proper conclusion of Simon’s critical conversation with the pig head in chapter 8.
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