This GCSE English Literature quiz will challenge you on setting in William Golding's Lord of the Flies. A fiction work’s “setting” refers to the time and the location in which its events occur. Of course, most texts will have more than one setting. Just as in life, events will usually take place in different locations and at different times. Natural features, buildings, vehicles and other spaces provide individual settings within the wider setting. Atmosphere will also change multiple times over the course of a work of fiction. It can often be useful to contrast these various settings with one another.
Events, whether as part of the action, or taking place in the background, provide another crucial element to a text’s setting. Social and political issues often play an important role.
In Lord of the Flies most of the boys are from solidly middle class backgrounds: Ralph is the son of a naval officer; Jack and Simon are choristers and Percival is the son of a vicar. Piggy is less advantaged, however, as the nephew of a sweet shop owner, and as a speaker of non-standard English. The events which bring the boys together, however, override such social issues, although the naval officer’s disappointment in the final chapter at the manner in which the boys have conducted themselves returns the social world of the island to that of the declining British Empire.
In Lord of the Flies, the reader follows a group of British school children from a crash-landing during a wartime evacuation, through to their rescue by a naval vessel. We are not sure exactly how long the boys live on the island, since they have no way of marking time. The seeming paradise of the place reminds the boys of the stories which they have grown up reading. The prospect of adventure and of lazy afternoons spent swimming, like an extended scout camp without the presence of adults or the discipline of school, at first seems like an exciting prospect, but events soon turn the island into a hellish scene. In Jack’s final attempt to destroy Ralph, the boys end up wrecking the environment which has sustained them, reminding us that it is humankind which has brought evil to paradise.
Answer the questions below on setting in Lord of the Flies.