On the Beach | Study Guide

Nevil Shute

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Course Hero. "On the Beach Study Guide." Course Hero. 18 Jan. 2018. Web. 2 June 2020. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/On-the-Beach/>.

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Course Hero. (2018, January 18). On the Beach Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved June 2, 2020, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/On-the-Beach/

In text

(Course Hero, 2018)



Course Hero. "On the Beach Study Guide." January 18, 2018. Accessed June 2, 2020. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/On-the-Beach/.


Course Hero, "On the Beach Study Guide," January 18, 2018, accessed June 2, 2020, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/On-the-Beach/.


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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.

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