The secluded island in Lord of the Flies is a secluded setting cut off from any outside civilisation. The island is a microcosm created by Golding, who shows his perspective of the world at the time the novel was written – at the end of the Second World War. The island begins as a tropical paradise, unspoiled due to the lack of inhabitants, however the arrival of the boys leads to damage because of their behaviour and lack of consideration for the island.
The island is ‘roughly boat shaped’ which is unusual for a natural island. This boat shape could represent the journey that the boy’s go on through their time on the island – the ups and the downs could be symbolised by the waves. It could also be acknowledging the outside world’s journey of life. This is something that everything on the earth has and the boat which carries us through it is the earth. The island is also described using many contradictory terms, including the high rocky mountain and the flat sandy beach. The rocky mountain is where many unfortunate events occur including murders, and ‘rocky’ could have two meanings in this sense – the mountain is rocky and the island’s inhabitants experience many rocky patches at this spot on the island.
The weather on the island seems to reflect how the boys are feeling, which helps convey the mood throughout the book and help to see when and how it is changing. The boy’s behaviour changed significantly at a certain point during the novel – the point of Simon’s death and the great storm. The storm shows the disruption and change that was definitely occurring within the boy’s individually and as a group. It could also be seen as a premonition of what lies ahead in terms of the feuding between the two ‘tribes’ of boys on the island. Golding also portrays the island as being seen through a haze of heat and this is significant as it is a strange new environment for the boys who were used to typical English weather before they got on the plane and so shows how the environment someone is put in affects how they behave, and what behaviour is acceptable.
The island is very isolated from the outside world, which makes it easy for Golding to keep the two areas separate, yet still link them together in an allegorical sense. There are no outside distractions, which means that the boys are left independently to fend for themselves. The island, however, is suitable for them to survive due to the large amount of fruit and water, as well as pigs, wood etc. which allows them to easily be self sufficient. This is recognisable to most people as being very similar to the Garden of Eden in the Bible, and the island also has a serpent-like evil figure in the book – the ‘beastie’. The setting sets up the ‘beastie’ by warping the boys’ perspectives of the way it is acceptable to act and speak. The evil inside themselves is distracted from by making the evil seem outside of them, similar to the story of the Garden of Eden.
Golding perceives our world as a place that is full of natural wonders and beauty, but believes that due to the evil that humans are capable of, the nature and beauty is damaged by this. The setting of the novel makes the boy’s journeys and changes understandable, yet unbelievable at the same time and so this is very important in Golding’s novel.