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The Coral Island by R. M. Ballantyne
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The Coral Island (1857)

by R. M. Ballantyne

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8761815,265 (3.39)34
  1. 30
    Lord of the Flies by William Golding (SmithSJ01)
    SmithSJ01: The Coral Island was a source of inspiration for Lord of the Flies, Golding wanted to give a more realistic account.
  2. 00
    Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson (Cecrow)
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» See also 34 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 18 (next | show all)
I came to this book via researching Lord of the Flies by William Golding (which I will be rereading shortly). Golding wrote his book as a counterpoint to Ballantyne's The Coral Island so, having never read it, I thought I'd give it a go before reading Lord of the Flies. The Coral Island is about three boys who are precariously shipwrecked on an island in the south Pacific Ocean. It is told by Ralph Rover, one of the boys, in first-person as an adult, reminiscing about his time stranded in the South Pacific. The book is steeped in Christian morality and is somewhat hindered by the narrator and author's limited worldview. The first 60% of the book is about the boys' time on the pristine island and they encounter few dangers except for a shark that happens into their favorite swimming bay. When the boys encounter cannibals that land on their island, then Ralph is kidnapped by pirates soon after, the plot finally revs up, at the behest of losing the presence of two of the boys since they remained on the island. Ultimately, the novel is bogged down by the Christian moralizing, where as the pirates and cannibals are the salacious counterpoint to the Christian crusaders that convert the heathen cannibals and offer an assist to the boys when they needed it most. I found this novel to be more of a historical document than a fun read. Although the relationship between the boys was sweet and realistic, the rest of the book left little to be desired in this modern reader.

I'm looking forward to rereading Lord of the Flies and see how Golding used his novel to respond to Ballantyne's The Coral Island. ( )
  scott_semegran | Dec 6, 2018 |
Very dated nontheless quite a good read ( )
  justmum | Oct 27, 2016 |
A member of the Boys Stranded on a Deserted Island genre, this one rolls along pretty well, although it gets surprisingly dark toward the end. Still, a fun-enough read. ( )
  electrascaife | Aug 30, 2016 |
A great little adventure story. One that anyone who likes to read, should read. Ballantyne has many more worth reading - Martin Rattler, Sunk at Sea, The Young Fur Traders, and The Dog Crusoe and His Master, just to name a few.

( )
  Garrison0550 | May 5, 2016 |
I must admit I got into this crazy mid-Victorian jingoistic evangelical boy's adventure story. ( )
  ChrisNewton | Mar 18, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 18 (next | show all)
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Roving has always been, and still is, my ruling passion, the joy of my heart, the very sunshine of my existence.
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I was surrounded on all sides by human beings of the most dreadful character, to whom the shedding of blood was mere pastime. On shore were the natives, whose practices were so horrible that I could not think of them without shuddering. On board were none but pirates of the blackest dye, who, although not cannibals, were foul murderers, and more blameworthy even than the savages, inasmuch as they knew better.
We had no difficulty now in managing our sails, for Jack was heavy and powerful, while Peterkin was active as a kitten. Still, however, we were a very insufficient crew for such a vessel, and if any one had proposed to us to make such a voyage in it before we had been forced to go through so many hardships from necessity, we would have turned away with pity from the individual making such proposal as from a madman. I pondered this a good deal, and at last concluded that men do not know how much they are capable of doing till they try, and that we should never give way to despair in any undertaking, however difficult it may seem:—always supposing, however, that our cause is a good one, and that we can ask the divine blessing on it.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140367616, Paperback)

When the three sailor lads, Ralph, Jack and Peterkin are cast ashore after the storm, their first task is to find out whether the island is inhabited. Their next task is to find a way of staying alive. They go hunting and learn to fish, explore underwater caves and build boats - but then their island paradise is rudely disturbed by the arrival of pirates.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:19 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

YA. This story tells of three young sailors, sole survivors of a wreck, and their discovery of the enchanting beauties of the South Pacific. They learn how to live on their tropical paradise but then they are swept into adventures with bloodthirsty pirates, before sailing back to England. Idealised castaway story that inspired Golding's Lord of the Flies. 11 yrs+… (more)

» see all 10 descriptions

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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