"One afternoon I've got my head down in The Coral Island"

The Coral Island (1857) is a novel written for young people by the Scottish writer RM Ballantyne. It is set on a desert island where three British boys - Ralph, Jack and Peter - become marooned. Among other adventures they encounter a party of invading Polynesians and a band of pirates. Despite witnessing several atrocities, the boys retain their essential goodness and eventually return home stronger and wiser. Almost a century later (1954) William Golding wrote his first novel Lord of the Flies as a response to The Coral Island.  In his book Golding suggests that a party of boys marooned on a desert island would very quickly turn into savages themselves. To make the contrast explicit, Golding gave his leading characters the same name as Ballantyne's.


Click this link to read The Coral Island for free, courtesy of Google Books.