Darkness Visible

Tormented by his desire, Matty moves from London to Australia. Golding writes that ‘it was typical of Matty’s jagged and passionate character that once he had decided to go away he should go as far as humanly possible’ (68). He goes first to Melbourne, and has a ‘mostly happy’ first year. But the realisation that even the kindest of people are repulsed by his scarred face unsettles him, and he begins to wear a black hat to cover it: ‘Piece by piece, he became the man in black’ (71). After four years, he moves around, from Sydney to Brisbane, until the desire to return home overwhelms him. He starts a curious ritual outside the State House with matchboxes and fire, and is sent back to England. On leaving Australia, he is emotional.

‘He went back up again to the deck and stood again, still, silent and staring at the continent he knew he was seeing for the last time. A single drop of water rolled out of his good eye, found a quick way down his cheek and fell on the deck. His mouth was making little movements, but he said nothing.’

Rites of Passage, Close Quarters, Fire Down Below

Australia is the destination 0f Edmund Talbot’s ship in ‘The Sea Trilogy’ and as such, is only reached in the final book, Fire Down Below.