Why Has Islands Have Been So Popular As The Setting For Literature Over The Years?

Submitted By sarravanaa
Words: 818
Pages: 4

Why has islands been so popular as the setting for literature over the centuries? Many authors have selected islands as their setting for books. Islands have been used as the location for literature over the centuries from The Tempest by William Shakespeare in 1610 to Kensuke’s Kingdom by Michael Morpurgo in 1999. So evidently many authors have considered islands as a unique and interesting setting for a long time but why? Sometimes we go to places we want to go to like on a holiday but occasionally you could end up somewhere you weren’t hoping to go. For example, you were on a boat and it was shipwrecked during a storm and you found yourself washed up on an island. Often in books set on islands the characters don’t choose to be on the island. They are there because of a disaster e.g. shipwreck which has happened resulting in them on the island. The Tempest, The Cay and Kensuke’s Kingdom are just a few examples of books which involve someone on an island because of a shipwreck. However characters don’t always have to go through a shipwreck to land on an island for instance in Lord of the Flies by William Golding - the children who were being evacuated whilst a war was going on. Besides the plane they were in crashed on the island. When characters in literature are drifted ashore by a disaster like these they are usually on a deserted island. The characters commonly develop as people like in Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe similarly Phillip in The Cay by Theodore Taylor because they have to stand on their own two feet and make wise decisions. In addition being on a secluded island gives you time to think about your behaviour and attitude in a crisis like this. Authors prefer to use remote islands rather than an island where people have settled because it leaves the characters in desperate situation and fighting for their survival. In survival theme it is likened to a battle between Man vs. Nature. The person would have to fight for themselves in the conditions which were thrown at them at any time e.g. a storm, tsunami, earthquake etc. Plus much easier things to deal with like limited amount of food and clothing. The author can decide how difficult the circumstances are and what features and resources are on the island. The island might not have any plants which supplied edible food. Or maybe the island was surrounded by water which didn’t attract a lot of sea creatures which the people could eat. An island is limited in size however big or small the author decides for it to be. Another point is that, it is quite difficult to spot another part of land meaning it is isolated unless the island the creature is on is part of an archipelago. Which means it isn’t easy to leave an island because it is alone. The island could be small and unknown. If the island is unknown it is less likely they will be rescued and they will have to battle for their lives for longer. The author also has a lot of choice with inventing an island. They can be as imaginative