Lord of the Flies

William Golding
Main Ideas

Metaphors and Similes

Main Ideas Metaphors and Similes

Chapter 1: The Sound of the Shell 

All round him the long scar smashed into the jungle was a bath of heat.

In this quote, the narrator uses two metaphors, one likening the strip of jungle damaged by the plane crash to a scar, and another comparing the heat and humidity to a bath.

The beach between the palm terrace and the water was a thin stick, endless apparently, for to Ralph’s left the perspectives of palm and beach and water drew to a point at infinity. . .

This metaphor characterizes the beach as a thin, endless stick, emphasizing both the narrowness and length of the beach.

This last piece of shop brought sniggers from the choir, who perched like black birds on the criss-cross trunks and examined Ralph with interest.

In this simile, the narrator likens the choir boys, dressed in black cloaks and seated on fallen tree trunks, to a flock of irreverent black birds sizing up Ralph.

The coral was scribbled in the sea as though a giant had bent down to reproduce the shape of the island in a flowing chalk line but tired before he had finished.

This simile helps explain how the white coral reef runs parallel to part of the island’s coastline, comparing it to a half-drawn chalk outline made by a giant.

Chapter 2: Fire on the Mountain 

He was a shrimp of a boy, about six years old, and one side of his face was blotted out by a mulberry-colored birthmark.

Here the narrator compares one of the littluns to a shrimp, suggesting that he is smaller than other boys on the island.

The sun in the west was a drop of burning gold that slid nearer and nearer the sill of the world.

In this poetic metaphor, the narrator likens the setting sun to a “drop of burning gold” sliding down a windowpane toward the windowsill.

Small flames stirred at the trunk of a tree and crawled away through leaves and brushwood. . . . One patch touched a tree trunk and scrambled up like a bright squirrel. . . . The squirrel leapt on the wings of the wind and clung to another standing tree, eating downwards.

In this simile, the narrator compares the spreading flames of a forest fire to a squirrel climbing and leaping among the trees.

Chapter 3: Huts on the Beach 

Jack himself shrank at this cry with a hiss of indrawn breath, and for a minute became less a hunter than a furtive thing, ape-like among the tangle of trees.

This simile, which describes Jack hunting pigs in the jungle, likens his stealthy behavior to that of a wild animal.

Chapter 5: Beast from Water 

Ralph chose the firm strip as a path because he needed to think, and only here could he allow his feet to move without having to watch them. Suddenly . . . He found himself understanding the wearisomeness of this life, where every path was an improvisation and a considerable part of one's waking life was spent watching one's feet.

In this metaphor, Ralph compares life on the island to an improvised journey that becomes tiresome because he must spend so much energy treading cautiously.

Chapter 7: Shadows and Tall Trees

. . . the darkness and desperate enterprise gave the night a kind of dentist's chair unreality.

This metaphor refers to the night Ralph, Jack, and Roger go in search of “the Beast,” comparing their state of confusion to that of a drugged patient in a dentist’s chair.

Chapter 12: Cry of the Hunter

Ralph launched himself like a cat; stabbed, snarling, with the spear, and the savage doubled up.

As Ralph tries to escape from Jack’s tribe of savages, the narrator compares his desperate behavior to that of a snarling cat attacking one of his pursuers.