Page 1. " made the jungle seem for a moment like the Home Counties "

In Lord of the Flies, the origin of the boys is suggested with the mention of the Home Counties. These are the counties in close proximity to London, England: Herfordshire, Essex, Kent, Surrey, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Middlesex.

The book takes place in a fictional atomic war, either during WWII or possibly soon afterwards. There are strong parallels with the situation in England during WWII. Major cities were heavily bombed, not for military purposes but to lower morale. During the Blitz, many children were evacuated to the countryside to escape the war. Here, they are being evacuated from Britain altogether.

Page 2. " We was attacked. "
Aircraft Fighter
Public DomainAircraft Fighter - Credit: NASA

Fighter aircraft were used during WWII  for air-to-air combat. They became particularly prominent during the Battle of Britain (1940), when British fighters had a decisive impact in the skies over Southern England.

Page 3. " Sucks to your ass-mar. "
Asthma Inhaler
GNU Free Documentation LicenseAsthma Inhaler - Credit: Magnus Manske

Asthma is an inflammatory disorder of the airways, which causes wheezing, shortness of breath, and coughing.



Page 4. " the white surf flinked on a coral reef, and beyond that the open sea was dark blue. "
Coral Reef
Public DomainCoral Reef - Credit: Jerry Reid

A coral reef is a marine structure built up of coral and other organic material. There are two distinct regions in which coral reefs are primarily found: the Wider Caribbean (Atlantic Ocean) and the Indo-Pacific (from East Africa and the Red Sea to the Central Pacific Ocean). Coral Reefs are home to over 25 percent of all marine life, and are a fragile and endangered ecosystem.


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Page 4. " Within the irregular arc of coral the lagoon was still as a mountain lake-blue of all shades and shadowy green and purple. "
Creative Commons AttributionLagoon - Credit: Nils Rinaldi
Lagoons  are shallow coastal bodies of water, often separated from the ocean by a barrier reef parallel to the shoreline. Inlets, either natural or manmade, cut through the barrier reef and permit tidal currents to transport water in and out of the lagoon.
Page 7. " a typhoon perhaps "
Public DomainTyphoon - Credit: Bobby 122
Typhoons are formed from tropical depressions that originate mostly in the northwest Pacific basin. Warm ocean water and a moist atmosphere combine to drive large amounts of heat energy northward. Tropical storms occur when the wind speed exceeds 39 mph; if the speed reaches 74mph, then the storm is categorised as a typhoon.
Page 9. " About the atom bomb? They're all dead. "
Bombing of Hiroshima
Public DomainBombing of Hiroshima - Credit: US Navy

One of the most controversial acts of World War II was the decision to drop the newly invented atomic bomb on Japan.

Prior to WWII, Albert Einstein wrote to the President of the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt, describing Germany's efforts to purify uranium-235, which could be used to build an atomic bomb. The United States Government authorised the Manhattan Project, which had as its objective the design and construction of a viable atomic bomb.

The United States had been at war with Japan since the latter's attack on Peal Harbor, Hawaii, on 7 December 1941. The war had been intensive, very costly, and very destructive to both sides.  To bring it to a swift end, the decision was made to drop atomic bombs on two Japanese cities. On 6 August 1945, a fifteen-kiloton atomic bomb destroyed the centre of Hiroshima, instantly killing more than 100,000 people and injuring many more. Three days later, a second bomb exploded over Nagasaki, resulting in 70,000 additional deaths.

Not only did the United States kill thousands of Japanese civilians and demolish two major cities, but the radiation they unleashed caused serious medical consequences for the survivors and future generations.  However, the two bombings did directly lead to Japan's unconditional surrender, avoiding further killing on the battlefield.  The morality of the decision is still debated.

The bombing referred to in Lord of the Flies is fictional, but for early readers it rang true so soon after the Japanese bombings.