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Discuss How Effectively the Authors Use Setting and Location in the Novels Lord of the Flies and I'M the King of the Castle

In: English and Literature

Submitted By lcihar
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In both Lord of the Flies by William Golding and I’m the King of the Castle by Susan Hill, the authors have effectively used settings and locations in their novels. This is a great impact, as most of the settings and locations have a meaning, representing something to do with the plot. The writers have used certain locations in a way that affects the understanding and thoughts of the reader, ranging from calm, peaceful settings, to terrifyingly dark ones. Each novel has different high and lows to their story, and locations are effectively used to express this.
In Lord of the Flies, the Island is the main location, and this is used as a symbol of isolation. The Island is in the middle of the sea, and the location is unknown. The boys are separated from the outside, and are isolated from society and rules, leading to no order. William Golding is trying to create a claustrophobic fear in the readers, one of the main emotional states shown in the book while the boys are on the island. The Island is the opening location of the novel, which is deliberately violent, as this is the setting of “the scar.” This instantly portrays the negative effect the boys will have on the environment of the Island. The influence this has by being at the very start of the book on the reader’s interpretation is that it will give a feel to the reader about how the plot will twist throughout the book.
In I’m the King of the Castle the main location is Warings. Warings is a ‘gloomy,’ ‘entirely graceless’ and ‘isolated’ mansion passed down in the Hooper family. Inside the house there is the Red Room, the Red Room is permanently locked and inside holds a collection of dead moths. This room being locked is significant in the way the residents of the house respond to each other, they are secretive and lock away their feelings away. The dead moths emphasize the death and decay of the people who live in Warings. Mr. Hopper, Edmund and Mrs. Kingshaw have lost the capability to love and care for those who have died. Charles Kingshaw feels happy away from Warings, mostly at Hang Wood. Therefore he prefers to be amongst nature, almost implying that Warings represents and unnatural existence.
The jungle in Lord of the Flies is a wild and unknown place, what lies in the depths of it remains a mystery to the boys. At the beginning of the novel the jungle is seen as a place of joy and wonder, ‘...filled with a blue flower, a rock plant of some sort; and the overflow hung down the vent and spilled lavishly among the canopy of the forest,’ this shows that the island is a form of life. However, Golding ensures that the battle between good and evil on the island is always at the forefront of the reader’s mind, an example of this is from the opening page of the book ‘...a bird, a vision of red and yellow, flashed upwards with a witch-like cry.’ The contrast of the vibrant ‘vision’ and the ‘witch-like cry’ remind us that despite the island having the potential to be good, there is always another side to the island, or in particular the jungle which can bring death and destruction, for example, the beast.
Hang Wood is another important location in I’m the King of the Castle. Hang Wood represents different things for each character, for Kingshaw, it is an escape. He gains confidence in the woods, and there is a temporary reverse of roles between Kingshaw and Hooper, where Kingshaw becomes the leader. Hooper also appears to become kinder in the woods, as the two boys play and feed the birds together. Kingshaw is very happy here, and even manages to forget how miserable he was, he has found peace. He views this as his place of safety, as it’s ‘completely hidden’ and Hooper doesn’t bully him here. Kingshaw ‘never wants to leave’ because he is so happy and at peace. The significance of this is that in the end, Kingshaw ends up ending his own life here. This confirms all that Kingshaw felt about this place, as in theory he will now never have to leave and will be at peace and happy forever. Hill show’s here how sometimes the effect of certain actions can lead to drastic consequences, this also outlines how affected Kingshaw was by Hooper’s bullying as he goes to such lengths to stay in a place where he is finally happy.
The mountain in Lord of the Flies is effective in many ways, firstly the three main boys of the story, Ralph, Jack and Simon, having a bonding experience here near the start of the novel as they climb the mountain to get a good look at the island. The boys find that the height brings them closer together, and allows them to see knowledge and truth. In many respects, the mountain could be seen in a negative light, but one instance shows the mountain differently. When they boy’s have hope of being rescued, the mountain being the highest point of the island, is a perfect place for a rescue fire. This portrays the mountain as a symbol of hope, as it could help them get rescued. On the other hand at some point, as expected, they rescue fire gets out of hand and spreads throughout the jungle. Although not officially stated, the out of control fire kills one of the little boys, showing that the mountain similar to the rest of the island indeed has a dark side. Golding expertly incorporates the ‘beast’ into the mountain as it is these locations where the boys find the dead pilot who had ejected himself from the falling plane, and assume it is the terrifying ‘beast.’ The boys have created the ‘beast’ as they think something is on the island with them, and become very paranoid about everything being this ‘beast.’ Lastly, the mountain is the location in which Piggy’s glasses are broken. This is essential to note because Piggy was the voice of ‘reason’ and always had a mature head when thinking in situations, therefore the effect is his glasses breaking is to symbolise the down fall of order and order.
Lord of the Flies like any novel has a ‘home,’ this is the beach lagoon. Here was the first place that the boys felt comfort, safety and warmth. This is also the finding place of the conch, which represented order and rules. Golding has cleverly hinted that this is, and always will be a safe place. This is proved at the very end, as the boys are found by a naval officer in the beach lagoon. Therefore this shows that the ‘safe’ place that was viewed as ‘home’ would be where the boys were safest to be all along as they were eventually found there.
Fielding’s Farm is yet another place from I’m the King of the Castle where Kingshaw finds happiness. Much like Hang Wood, the boys play together here also, creating a game of battle and both getting very involved in it. This suggests that the boys friendship changes while outside of Warings, and that Hooper becomes less of a bully. The significance of the boys waling over the bridge together is important because Kingshaw is leaving behind a life of misery and entering a new one that offers life. A stream running below the bridge supports this as water is the symbol of life. Fielding’s farm is a contrast to Warings, the farm is an example of the circle of life and death, birth is a happy time, and death is a part of the natural process, whereas everything is dying at Warings.
The beach near Castle Rock is insignificant at first, but later becomes Simon’s hide out and a major role in Lord of the Flies. It is here that the boys mistake Simon for something else and end up killing him. ‘There were no words, and no movements but for the tearing of teeth and claws,’ the animalisation of the boys provides a perfect opposite to the dead, natural appearance of the corpse. Golding uses words such as ‘sculptured marble’ to give Simon’s corpse a natural quality. Simon’s death plays a big part as he represented the goodness among the boys, and his death clarifies that the boys are slowly slipping into madness. This death does not encourage the boys to repent their sins, suggesting that they have abandoned faith. Before Simon was murdered, he appeared to have an ‘episode’ in which he realised that there was no ‘beast’ but that they were in fact the beast creating all of these disastrous things themselves. Simon’s hide out was also the place where the very first pig was killed, this represents the savage change in the boys, they then proceed to mount the head onto a spear. This act is almost too mock Simon, as now that he is dead the boys will keep thinking there is indeed a beast and spiralling further into madness.
Leydell Castle is and interesting place of I’m the King of the Castle, again away from Warings, Kingshaw gains confidence. He decides to climb to the top of the castle, leaving a frightened Hooper behind. Eventually overcoming his fear, Hooper follows Kingshaw but becomes stuck, resulting in him wetting himself. Kingshaw hates Hooper with a passion, and knows if he wanted to, he could push him and make him fall. Kingshaw chose’s wisely though, as he realises when the pair get back to Waring’s he will be the victim once again. However, Hooper accidently ends up falling, and automatically blames it on Kingshaw, just like he did before. Here Kingshaw feels power as we see when he shouts ‘I’m the king of the castle’ from the very top.
Castle Rock in Lord of the Flies is a muddled pile of rock with a cave in the middle. This is where Jack runs his tribe, implying that this will not be the location of anything positive. Ralph and Jack fight here on Castle Rock when they have a power struggle, which leads to terrible consequences. The conch gets broken, representing the fall of order, and Piggy dies at the base of the rock. Piggy’s death represents the death of reason, smartness and maturity, signalling that things only go bad from there.
Overall, in my view, the authors used locations and settings effectively in their novels. The island is a literary experiment for Golding to explore the true nature of man, in its most innocent form. The boys on the island are an exploration of the rise and fall of civilisation, with the changes seen clearly in Ralph’s democratic leadership, to Jack’s leading of his tribe quite like a dictatorship. This is notable in the relations with clothing on the island. Ralph and Piggy keep their clothes on throughout much of the novel; this action runs in parallel with the boys desires to have rationality and order. In contrast, after a couple of chapters Jack completely abandons his clothes, this also reflects his desires as he doesn’t care about order, or reason, just wants to do whatever he wants.
Kingshaw’s suicide was inevitable, and shows the powerful consequences that power struggles can bring, even between children. Hill unfolds a depressing story filled with manipulation and power play, leaving the readers shocked and horrified at the lengths a child would go to get away from an evil. Kingshaw’s death leaves the reading’s feeling uneasy, an uncomfortable distinction between the innocence of youth and the evil hidden within all humans.

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