Course Hero Logo

On the Beach | Study Guide

Nevil Shute

Get the eBook on Amazon to study offline.

Buy on Amazon Study Guide
Cite This Study Guide

How to Cite This Study Guide

quotation mark graphic


Course Hero. "On the Beach Study Guide." Course Hero. 18 Jan. 2018. Web. 5 June 2023. <>.

In text

(Course Hero)



Course Hero. (2018, January 18). On the Beach Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved June 5, 2023, from

In text

(Course Hero, 2018)



Course Hero. "On the Beach Study Guide." January 18, 2018. Accessed June 5, 2023.


Course Hero, "On the Beach Study Guide," January 18, 2018, accessed June 5, 2023,


On the Beach infographic thumbnail


Nevil Shute

Year Published





Science Fiction

Perspective and Narrator

The events of On the Beach are described by an omniscient third-person narrator.


On the Beach is written in the past tense.

About the Title

The title On the Beach is taken from the novel's epigraph, which cites lines from British writer T.S. Eliot's poem "The Hollow Men." In these lines people gather along the shore of a "tumid river"—an allusion to the River Styx of Greek mythology, which the dead cross to arrive in Hades. This is the "last of meeting places" where the dead await their journey to the Underworld. The phrase on the beach also aligns with British naval slang meaning "retired from the service" or "awaiting reassignment." Both poetic and slang use of the phrase aptly apply to the novel's characters and the situation they face.


This study guide and infographic for Nevil Shute's On the Beach offer summary and analysis on themes, symbols, and other literary devices found in the text. Explore Course Hero's library of literature materials, including documents and Q&A pairs.

Buy this book from
Cite This Study Guide

information icon Have study documents to share about On the Beach? Upload them to earn free Course Hero access!