The Coral Island, Ballantyne

We talked about this book in class when we studied « Lord of the flies ».
It was published in 1858. It’s quite important because it’s the first book of this type of story: the children’s literature. It’s the first using children as main characters leading to its success: we has never stopped to print it. It’s also a dystopian novel. Ballantyne is a Scottish author, his story is a « Robinsonade », a story inspired by Robinson Crusoe published in 1719.

The story takes place on a South Pacific island. Three boys are alone, the first part of the book concerns the way they manage to survive (how they find food, how they build a shelter…). In the second part, there is more action, there is the arrival of British pirates and they find Polynesians. They want to convince these men to become Christians, the painting of this culture is very violent, they talk about rape and cannibalism, I don’t know the real story of the Polynesian culture but I think it’s not so ugly the author shows….This book seems to be controversy today.
There’s also a reference to darwinism. His book: « The structure and distribution of Coral reefs » was published the year before. In « the Coral Island », Ballantyne supports the theory of evolution.

In 1861, the boys became adults in another book  » The Gorilla hunters ».

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