Lord of the Flies

ISBN: 0307281701
ISBN 13: 9780307281708
By: William Golding

Check Price Now

Genres

Classic Classics Dystopia Dystopian Favorites Novels Read For School School To Read Young Adult

About this book

William Golding's compelling story about a group of very ordinary small boys marooned on a coral island has become a modern classic. At 1st, it seems as though it's all going to be great fun; but the fun before long becomes furious & life on the island turns into a nightmare of panic & death. As ordinary standards of behavior collapse, the whole world the boys know collapses with them—the world of cricket & homework & adventure stories—& another world is revealed beneath, primitive & terrible. Lord of the Flies remains as provocative today as when it was 1st published in 1954, igniting passionate debate with its startling, brutal portrait of human nature. Though critically acclaimed, it was largely ignored upon its initial publication. Yet soon it became a cult favorite among both students ^ literary critics who compared it to J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye in its influence on modern thought & literature. Labeled a parable, an allegory, a myth, a morality tale, a parody, a political treatise, even a vision of the apocalypse, Lord of the Flies has established itself as a classic.

Reader's Thoughts

Zaki

What happens when a group of school boys get marooned on a desert island following a plane crash?They've got no adult authority.They all descend into savagery. Golding highlights our edgy similarity to the spirit of wild beasts. This is replete with biblical motifs.

Jason Pettus

(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com:]. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)The CCLaP 100: In which I read for the first time a hundred so-called "classics," then write reports on whether or not they deserve the labelEssay #46: Lord of the Flies (1954), by William GoldingThe story in a nutshell:First published in the beginning years of Mid-Century Modernism but not a bestseller until a decade later, William Golding's 1954 Lord of the Flies is a look at a group of high-class British schoolboys who end up stranded on a literal eden of a tropical island, after the outbreak of a speculative World War Three takes down the plane they were on and kills the pilot. At first the situation seems like an adult-free, clothing-optional Paradise on Earth*, but like all humans, the boys quickly realize that they will have to work together in order to survive; and at first they actually do a pretty good job at making a British stiff-upper-lip go at it, forming a direct democracy of sorts with the intelligent and charismatic Ralph naturally emerging as their leader, and his annoyingly nerdy overweight friend Piggy representing the docile middle-class who are apt to blindly obey whatever random authority figure happens to be in charge. But alas, this being the human race, there of course must be a violent, sociopathic powermonger among their group as well -- the truly scary Jack Merridew, that is, who even came to the island with his own private militia, the children's choir he had already been the bullying leader of back in civilization, and who appoint themselves the official food providers for the castaways on the constant hunt for meat, a situation that quickly degenerates into insular tribalism and the literal painting of war-marks on their faces.When this perpetual hunting, then, interferes one day with the maintenance of their signal fire, ruining a random chance they had of getting rescued, a Soviet-style power struggle for their nascent society suddenly starts forming; and by exploiting the fear of a mythical "Beast" that supposedly lives in the island's interior (obviously a metaphor for the controlling power of organized religion), believed in without question by the population of small children who have formed their own Neverland-like subculture away from the older boys (a symbol for the literal unwashed, mouth-breathing masses), Jack is able through deceit and superstition to wrest authority from Ralph and effectively become their society's bloodthirsty leader. That then leads by the book's climax to a literal assassination hunt through the jungle for the fleeing Ralph, saved only at the last moment by the deus-ex-machina appearance of the adult military again, although with it being heavily implied that the apocalyptic war they are heading back to will make their island travails seem like a cakewalk in comparison.The argument for it being a classic:Well, for starters, Golding was eventually a winner of the coveted Nobel Prize for Literature; and this is without question the most famous book of his career, making it a natural title to turn to when wanting to explore the best of what the Mid-Century Modernist arts had to offer, a book that by now has been read by tens of millions of people because of it eventually becoming a staple of high-school literature classes. And then of course there's the fact that it's simply a great book, argue its fans, an exciting and surprise-filled page-turner containing a powerful message about the true nature of human behavior, a message eagerly eaten up in the '50s and '60s by the bitter survivors of World War Two who were now staring down the barrel of the atomic gun known as the Cold War. Add to this the fact that, much like The Catcher in the Rye from those same years, this was one of the first books to eventually define the now-hot Young Adult (or YA) industry, and you have a title that its fans argue should rightly be considered a classic no matter which way you look at it.The argument against:The main argument against Lord of the Flies being a classic seems to be that it simply isn't as good as its fans claim it is, in reality a clunkily-written potboiler that telegraphs its plot turns with almost no subtlety at all, and that the only reason it's as well-known as it is is because of its patently obvious symbolism being the best thing to ever happen to lazy high-school lit teachers worldwide. (Yes, yes, Simon is Jesus! I get it, Mrs. Hobart, I freaking get it!) Although few seem to dispute that it remains an exciting actioner for kids, and violent little boys in particular, there are lots of people out there who claim that this is all this YA groundbreaker is, and shouldn't even be considered eligible for "classic" status among the adult literary canon.My verdict:So much like my experience reading The Catcher in the Rye last year for the first time, I'm split in my opinion of Lord of the Flies after now reading it for the first time too; because although I definitely found it an undeniably thrilling book, I also wholeheartedly agree that it will be of interest mostly just to teen readers, and that in fact it probably would've never been considered for adult "classic" status in the first place if the YA industry had already been established when it first came out. And that's really what makes YA such a tricky genre, as we've seen by the recent grown-up popularity of authors like John Reed, Sarah Dessen and Stephanie Meyer; because what the term really means is that these books are fully adult when it comes to plot sophistication, overall message, and the things at stake among its characters, just that the books themselves are written with young people occupying most of the main parts, and in a style designed to not go over the heads of most young readers. So does that make a book like this a classic or not? Obviously, if you were talking just about the influence it's had over the formation of the YA industry, the answer would unequivocally be yes, and obviously no matter what the answer, it still remains an exciting book that most people in the early 2000s will still really enjoy (that is, if you can get past its evermore rapidly passe slang, with the book chock-full of quaint '50s terms like, "Ah, nuts to ya!"); but since ultimately this is an essay series about adult books designed expressly for adult readers, Lord of the Flies under this definition squeaks in just under the line where I myself would consider it a classic, and I have a feeling that it will be one of the first titles of this entire series to eventually be forgotten by society as a whole as the future progresses. Although I definitely recommend it if you've never actually read it before (and think it should be required reading for any inquisitive teen in your life), I can't in good conscience call it a book that I think everyone must read before they die.Is it a classic? No(And don't forget that the first 33 essays in this series are now available in book form!)*And indeed, Golding used to freely admit that this novel was originally inspired by such boys' paradise novels like Treasure Island and The Coral Island, and how ridiculously unrealistic he thought they were.

Callum

Any piece that can concurrently delve into the nature, psychology, callowness, volatility and savagery of children exposed to an isolated dystopia should provide for a rich, somewhat intriguing piece of literature, right? Unfortunately, I found this awkward, thinly constructed parable on humanity's ultimate inevitability toward entropy a weak exercise. The author's moral viewpoints are represented through his characters, making the conflict far more simplistic and condensed, never really enters the behaviourism of his characters, not successfully at least. It's made clear that the students who centre the story are brought up on strict formalities, and an almost cartoonish sense of etiquette. This makes for an intriguing premise, especially when conflict is eminent. Basically, these are young men of a higher caste, educated in a militaristic fashion being exposed to both freedom and isolation. Even the smallest form of conflict is made apparent, with the introduction of a conch. This was a strong opening to the novel, because at the same time he was able to provide both civility and discordance among the students.However, two characters stick out like a sore thumb. Jack and Ralph. Obviously, there's going to be a conflict between children, it's human nature. However, it is made too obvious what moral viewpoint the character represents. A great author wouldn't make it so obvious which side he sees as 'good' or 'bad' but rather develop a sense of ambiguity among his characters, but there isn't a semblance of that here. And it isn't only with the characters Jack and Ralph either.There are characters like Piggy and Simon who are probably the only levelheaded characters in the story. And of course, they are the subject of Golding's torment. I don't hate symbolism, I don't hate it when symbolism is presented through a character, but instead of coming off as thought-provoking or compelling, it's instructive. He lays thick all of his beliefs, not allowing any ambivalence creep into his story.All the wrongdoings toward the 'good' characters are fine, but the aim is far too precise. It seems that the only reason to abuse and batter his protagonists are purely to make martyrs out of them. And it's always been confusing as to why only three kids can find some sense out of the situation. All the kids are from the same school, they are cut from the same cloth and are educated in the same environment, yet it's the outcasts, or the good guys who are the only characters in the story who seem to be liberal, and show some sense of conservatism. But of course, he wants to show the deterioration of a civilized system. This is a subject worth exploring, but as I said before, the character Jack sticks out like a sore thumb. Before any order within the island is eradicated, Jack is all ready established as the story's villain. It's okay to display characters clashing over power, but Jack isn't simply looking for power fix. Golding makes him anti-conservative, sadomasochistic, anarchic, autocratic and ruthless — without being psychotic — before anything really happens in the story.Ralph, Simon and Piggy are simply William Golding's physical manifestations of everything good and sensible. They are a minority within the story not because that's an accurate depiction of children but because he has no other way to make them significant. His beliefs aren't very flashy, and quite frankly, Golding isn't a very strong storyteller. The undertones he permeates are fine, but his execution is flawed and condescension toward them is distracting. Golding can't even retain a bit of subtlety with his symbolism by the end of his novel. He presents his didactic viewpoints through his characters just as sleazily as he does with his themes and morality. Sure, these are strong virtues he's presenting, but he surrenders truth and complexity by making his characters symbolic and thematic stand-ins rather than actual characters. The novel wasn't all bad, I liked the juxtaposition between the children's conflict to that of their adult counterparts. And I loved the concept. But he reduces them with achingly instructive, allegorical and preachy methodology.

Lynne King

“You are a silly little boy,” said the Lord of the Flies, “just an ignorant, silly little boy.”Simon moved his swollen tongue but said nothing.“Don’t you agree?” said the Lord of the Flies. “Aren’t you just a silly little boy?”Simon answered him in the same silent voice (how can you have a silent voice?).“Well then,” said the Lord of the Flies, “you’d better run off and play with the others. They think you’re batty. You don’t want Ralph to think you’re batty do you? You like Ralph a lot, don’t you? And Piggy and Jack?”I confess that I did specifically look for this first mention of the Lord of the Flies before I really began to read this book. I had heard of “The Lord of the Flies” by William Golding but I had never had the inclination to read the book, so when I couldn’t find a book shop recently, I unexpectedly came across it in a charity shop. The teenager next to me saw me wavering over purchasing it (it certainly wasn’t the price at 79p!). He smiled and said he was sure I would thoroughly enjoy reading it. It was the cover that had captured my attention; the background was orange and covered with ugly little savages, a couple of snakes and other strange looking creatures. I think that one was meant to be a pig.I found the work somewhat confusing at the beginning, leaving a lot to the imagination but then perhaps that was the point? It actually took me a while to determine what exactly the “scar” was on the first page. I finally assumed that it must be the plane that had crashed according to the blurb on the back cover:“The boy with the fair hair lowered himself down the last few feet of rock and began to pick his way towards the lagoon…All round him the long scar smashed into the jungle was a bath of heat.”There was mention of the plane being attacked, the subsequent fire, and finally the crash when we meet the first two survivors on the desert island. There’s schoolboy Ralph, who’s a rather good looking twelve year old, who meets “Piggy”, a bespectacled rather fat boy who soon proves to be the most intelligent member of the finally assembled group of boys. The joy that they had when they realized that they were in a non-adult society and they could do whatever they wanted!“No grown-ups!”They both soon wondered whether there were other survivors and it wasn’t until Ralph finds a conch shell and blows into it that all the other boys on the island slowly trickle in. But what I found odd was that there were no girls around. However, knowing how men/boys love their “toys”, and the idea of young girls entering the equation, well sexual ideas could no doubt have caused problems. Perhaps the author decided to stay with boys as this book was written in 1954.When the choir group appears with Jack as the apparent leader, I found their attire was odd in that:“Each boy wore a square black cap with a silver badge in it…. They were hidden by black cloaks which bore a long silver cross on the left breast and each neck was finished off with a hambone frill.”I then wondered if there was a religious and Godly aspect to be examined here. One associates goodness and beautiful voices with choirs and this would soon change with the unexpected alteration in Jack’s personality. He wanted to be the chief but Ralph, by popular vote of the group, already held that position and anarchy soon sets in.The main characters appear to represent good and evil in a society that reverts back to its savage roots. Ralph is the survivor, lights a fire and wants the fire to be permanently maintained so that they can be saved, and he is aided by Piggy in this respect. Whereas Jack wants to start hunting, with his spear, and reverts to a savage state with his group when pigs are found in the jungle. Roger helps him. Simon appears to be on the margins. The interesting pair, the twins, “the littleuns”, Sam and Eric, become Samneric, thus showing that they have lost their unique individuality. They support Ralph but get captured by Jack, when the children split up into two groups. The twins had been the first to set the jittery idea of the “beastie”and “the snake thing” in motion.There is a particularly horrendous part when Jack et al come across a sow with her piglets. Savagery is their reason for being with the chief and his members, like Jack, are covered in war paint. There is the determination of Jack to hunt Ralph down and kill him and the incident when Simon meets the Lord of the Flies. I didn’t really understand the symbolism of this, and perhaps there isn’t any and it is purely a children’s book with no hidden agenda.I found the refrain “Kill the beast! Cut his throat! Spill his blood!” rather disturbing.The themes of fire, death, violence and the importance of Piggy’s glasses to make a fire, run throughout the book; showing how easily a supposedly civilized society can revert back to the times of the cave man when survival was all that mattered. The ending was somewhat trite with fire playing a large part in it.I think this book is exceptionally well written but would I like to reread it? No, I don’t think so. The confusion in the book was the main stumbling block for me and I read books purely for pleasure.

Jennifer

Lord of the Flies written by William Golding is about a large group of private school boys that end up stranded on a deserted island after their plane crashes. Due to the war that is happening in reality at the time of the crash the boys wonder if this was a crash, or an attack. Either way, one thing becomes clear to them rather quickly. They are without any adult supervision which they find frightning and exciting all at once. Though there are many different characters in this story, four main boys stood out for me. Ralph, the born leader, likable and well spoken. He was the most logical of the boys. Though at first he too was thrilled to be stranded without adults, he quickly put things in perspective and knew what had to be done to acclomplish their quick rescue, and that was to keep a fire burning for any in coming ships to see their smoke. Ralph, as elected leader, did not relish in his authority, but geniunely cared about the group of boys and had their best interest at heart. Piggy had their best interests at heart as well. Another senisible boy, even more intelligent than Ralph. He was able to think quicker than Ralph. However Piggy lacked respect for his poor social skills and for his outward appearrence of a portly boy with specticles, "ass-mar", and an annoying habit of constant whinning. Though Piggy annoyed Ralph as well, Ralph was able to see the good qualities Piggy had as well and valued his opinion on just about everything, actually relied on it most of the time.Jack, not exactly a born leader, except in his own eyes. Jack felt he should have been elected the leader and when he wasn't he announced he was in charge of hunting for meat. In this new role he had given himself, he put the boys at risk for making hunting the top priority instead of getting rescued. This was one of the first events that would put the boys against each other.Simon was the most innocent of the boys. A sensitive boy who cared about their safety and unification. A boy with alot to say, but unfortionatly had an awful time speaking to the group because of his shyness. An event that takes place between the other boys and Simon signifies the true loss of innocense and humanity amoung most of the boys.I thought this was a great book, though very sad and terrifing at times. Being a mother I couldn't help thinking about how these boys parents felt about their missing sons. Ironically Golding did not have these boys pinning for their parents, but had most of them(with the exception of Ralph and Piggy)adjusting to the island as though they were never to be rescued and converting back to uncivilized savages in a matter of weeks. I wonder if the characters were girls, how different the story would have been. I personally would like to think we would have remained more civilized. On second thought, as viscous as young girls can be, the number of casualities would probably have been doubled.

Emily May

Kids are evil. Don't you know?I've just finished rereading this book for my book club but, to be honest, I've liked it ever since my class were made to read it in high school. Overall, Lord of the Flies doesn't seem to be very popular, but I've always liked the almost Hobbesian look at the state of nature and how humanity behaves when left alone without societal rules and structures. Make the characters all angel-faced kids with sadistic sides to their personality and what do you have? Just your average high school drama, but set on a desert island. With a bit more bloody murder. But not that much more.In 1954, when this book was published, Britain was in the process of being forced to face some harsh realities that it had blissfully chosen to ignore beforehand - that it is not, in fact, the centre of the universe, and the British Empire was not a thing of national pride, but an embarrassing infringement on the freedom and rights of other human beings. Much of British colonialism had been justified as a self-righteous mission to educate and modernise foreign "savages". So when put into its historical context, alongside the decolonisation movements, this book could be said to be an interesting deconstruction of white, Western supremacy. This is not a tale of "savages" who were raised in poor, rural villages... but a story about upper middle class, privately-educated, silver-spoon boys.I can understand why some people interpret this book as racist. The racial aspect is a big factor, Golding establishes from the very first page that Ralph is not only white, but WHITE. And Piggy even asks "Which is better - to be a pack of painted niggers like you are or to be sensible like Ralph is?" I'm not going to argue with anyone's interpretation, it would be difficult to say exactly what Golding intended, but I think there is room to see this as the opposite of racism. For me, I always saw it as Golding challenging the notion of savages being dark-skinned, uneducated people from rural areas. With this book, he says screw that, I'll show you savages! and proceeds to show us how these little jewels of the empire are no better for their fancy education and gold-plated upbringing.I think that seemed especially clear from the ending when the officer says "I should have thought that a pack of British boys - you're all British, aren't you? - would have been able to put up a better show than that." Golding's way of saying that human nature is universal and no one can escape it.Some readers say that you have to have quite a negative view of human nature already to appreciate this book, but I don't think that's true. I'm not sure I necessarily agree with all the implications running around in the novel - namely, the failure of democracy and the pro-authority stance - but it serves as an interesting look at the dark side of human nature and how no one is beyond its reach. Plus, anyone who had a bit of a rough time in high school will probably not find the events in this book a huge leap of the imagination. The fascinating thing about Lord of the Flies is the way many historical parallels can be drawn from the messages it carries. You could choose to view the charismatic and manipulative Jack Merridew as a kind of Hitler (or other dictator) who takes advantage of a group of people at their weakest. Dictators and radicals often find it easy to slip in when a society is in chaos... we do not have to assume that Golding believed that everyone everywhere is evil, only that we all have the capacity for it when we find ourselves in unstable situations.Still a fascinating book after all these years.

Brad

Can someone tell me where the anarchy lies in this book?All I can remember about discussing this book in high school is that it was supposed to be about anarchy, about how we descend into madness and "chaos" without law and order to hold our childlike hands. Every time I've overheard a conversation about LOTFs since, it has been the same thing: somewhere in the discussion someone mentions anarchy, as though that one word can sum up everything Golding was doing. Even the afterword by E.L. Epstien calls "Jack ... the leader of the forces of anarchy on the island," and still I wonder "Where is the anarchy?"I don't see it anywhere. Anarchy reigned on the island for all of ... what? Eight pages in my edition. Then Ralph pulls up the conch and anarchy is over. The conch comes, the meeting is called, and society rears its ugly head, and that felt to me like the point of Golding's book -- the ineluctable need to "civilize" ourselves and what that civilizing drive really looks like.It's a fucking ugly drive. Many see Ralph as the best of the kids, the natural leader who is looking out for the good of the many. I don't see it. I see a selfish little shit, whose only desire is to leave the island (a desire that I think has little value or necessity) and return to civilization, and while stuck on the island to build himself a shelter so that he can play "society" as comfortably as possible. He tells everyone and us that they need shelter, but the actual need for shelter never appears beyond Ralph's constant bitching. He becomes the leader of the democratic government, leaves too much power to Jack and the hunters so that he can avoid early conflict, then spends his entire time telling everyone what is important, what they should care about, and he can't stand it when they have different priorities. Everyone was eating, breathing and drinking, Ralph (apart from those your need for a fire burned to death the first day). They didn't need you or your rule as "chief."Then there's Piggy. Whiny, bright ideas Piggy, always pissing and moaning about right and wrong. Always needing others to police those who "wrong him" always wanting to make more rules, always opining about the need for them all to be more civilized. Always backing Ralph to exert his power, to use the conch to gain control, to talk and impose his will on the littluns and the hunters. He's in fear for himself, and he's more than willing to have other impose their will on still others to make him feel safe. But he takes no personal responsibility. He talks and talks and lectures and lectures but never does.Then there is Jack. I don't think he's really any worse than Ralph, nor do I think he is better. He has other priorites that are just as fucking selfish. He wants meat. He believes that more food, better food, should be the priority -- and he's sure that his position as the strongest, the best provider, should give him a right to power. He doesn't give a shit about the fire and rescue. Then he -- like Ralph in practice and Piggy in support -- places his own idea of society on the group, and like Ralph he's responsible for some deaths. Ralph gets away with his deaths in the minds of readers because they were a foolish "mistake," and the killing of Simon is too personal and bloody to be forgiven, so Jack is seen as the force for evil on the island. Yet the catalyst for the killing of Simon was genuine (albeit misplaced) fear and superstition of "the Beast" they all (not just Jack) talked themselves into. Ultimately he rejects Ralph's power, Ralph's vision for their society, and he sets up his own, with his own rules and regulations and controls and defenses.And now I go back again to the question I can't stop thinking about: Where is the anarchy? I don't see any anarchy here (unless it is in the nameless, faceless, uncared for littluns that populate Ralph's benevolent dictatorship. It's important to note, since I am talking about them, that Jack makes his littluns an active part of his tribe, while Ralph barely notices their existence. Nice leadership, Ralph). I see imposition of social constructs, I see a drive to law and order, I see a desire to remake the social structures from whence they came. I see imposition of control at every turn, and it's a control that instantly takes on the trappings of a "system" with rules and rituals and imposed consequences.Don't misunderstand me. I am not espousing anarchy as a real world possibility (it is an ideal that fascinates me, but I know that it is a practical impossibility); I am not saying it would have made for better living conditions on the island (although I highly doubt it would have made them worse); but I am saying that I never saw anything approaching anarchy in Golding's writing, unless it was as the unspoken, hinted at ideal of a world beyond "civilizing" influences.What I did see was Golding telling us that all our instincts to govern and control and civilize have dire, ugly and pitiable consequences, no matter where we sit politically or philosophically. I saw it in Ralph and Piggy and Jack, and it was driven home when the naval officer -- the "saviour" of the boys on the island -- saved them from their own little wars to return to a "grown-up" society at war, playing the same ugly games on a grander, uglier scale. I saw a mirror, and I didn't like what Golding made me see.

matt

Ok, so I have a pet theory. I think that this book is added to countless high school English curricula because its part of an insidious brainwashing attempt by THE POWERS THAT BE to try and discourage progressive thought among impressionable high school kids.I mean, remember, the whole point of the book is that people can't be left to their own devices ("the defects in human society are because of the defects in human nature" quoth my squeaky voiced Sophmore English teacher) because of their natural faults and failures and if left alone without a strong leader or tradition or what-have-you to keep 'em in line they'll all turn to Satanism and Paganism and shit. Screaming for pig's blood and all that.It's Hobbesian, it's reductive and it's unnecessarily cynical about human nature. If we all agree that man is rotten to the core, and what's more, irredeemably so rotten that they'll throw the geeky kid to the sharks and tear each other limb from limb then there's really no point to try and create a Utopian space or at least a democratic pluralism, because that shit will come a'tumblin' down once the kids are let out of sight. I don't think Humanity (with a capital-H) abandons Reason (with a capital-R) as easily and as blithely as Golding seems to suggest. I'm not really much of an optimist about human nature but I don't think we're one plane crash and deserted island away from cannibalism and bad table manners. More to the point, reading a pretty well-written and engaging novel like this one is all well and good but if you have generations of earnest and/or solicitous Sophomores repeating talking points about the hopeless barbarity of human civilization and being rewarded for it with the grades they covet, you're laying the groundwork for people being less interested or involved in *actual* progression or advancement of social structures, etc. Think about it.

Marka

I HATE THIS BOOK!!!

Nora

I read this book a long time ago, long enough to where I barely remembered anything past the basic premise. So I picked it up again, only to wish I hadn't. There's a reason why they teach this book in middle school--in order to enjoy this book, one's intellectual cognizance must be that of a child, because otherwise you'll spend the entire time picking out everything that's wrong with the book. And there's a lot to pick out.From what little of the story that is actually coherent, I can see why this book has had a lasting effect on social commentary since it's initial publishing. The overlying illustration of how easily man can devolve back to his feral instincts is striking, yet could have been infinitesimally more effective in the hands of a decent writer. See, I would have cared a bit more about the little island society of prepubescent boys and their descent into barbarism if you know, any of the characters had been developed AT ALL. Instead, we're thrown interchangeable names of interchangeable boys who are only developed enough to conform to the basic archetypes Golding requires to hobble his little story along: The Leader, The Rebel, The Fat-Kid, The Nose-Picker, etc. Were he born in this time, I believe Golding would have done brilliantly as a scriptwriter for reality TV. And the plot? There's a plot? I'm guessing so, since things seem to happen, but it's kind of hard to tell since he spends pages describing irrelevant events that are never incorporated, characters that possibly exist yet probably don't, and using words that don't mean what he thinks they mean. And as the main characters are a bunch of kids not worth caring about, thus goes the way of the story.And the prose? Dear God, the prose! Get it away! It burns us! So yeah, this book sucked. It had potential. There were even a few parts I internally squealed at in hopeful anticipation. But whatever potential it did have was hopelessly squandered by a man who wrote like he'd never written anything before in his life. Don't waste your time.

Verónica

Simply, it is such an excellent and influential novel of adventure with a story that is incredibly interesting and entertaining, which is also dramatic and emotional. It takes place in a very unusual setting and explains and shows what we can become if we do not have respect, rules and order which could cause deadly and irreversible chaos. The author, William Golding, describes the novel in a deep and detailed manner not wanting to leave out any insignificant detail; so it makes the story more real and authentic. His writing style is simple but the thematic matter is deep. Golding does a good job showing the emotional states and fully developed personalities of each character throughout the story and he makes the story come alive with significant use of symbolism in the characters and in simple objects. Also he describes each of the points of the island as well as the cruelest moments. For this reason the way he describes things are amazing, genuine and powerful.During the middle of World War II, a plane crashes on an unknown island, abandoning a group of British schoolboys. The boys are all young, the oldest ones are not more than twelve years, and the island is apparently peaceful and beautiful. At first, there are no adults there; so their freedom and independence is something they celebrate and enjoy. This far from civilization they can do anything they want without being scolded and punished. But as order collapses and terror begins its reign, the hope of adventure seems as far removed from reality as the hope of being rescued. It is a story that definitely makes you think about society, the integrity of people and reveals the evil and cruel component of humanity. It reveals how we can become at times if we do not control ourselves or our impulses, whether or not we are the person who imposes order and how it can change or transform us into something dangerous, frightening and unknown, which makes us do things we never dared or imagined.It is a great book, entertaining, exciting and easy to read. I greatly enjoyed this book and I liked the story because it is thrilling and fast-moving; how it shows the kids on an unknown island and the things they do and dared to do in order to survive and be rescued. Each chapter has something exciting and interesting; and the more I read it, the more I got into it. For this reason, I would definitely recommend it.

Karson

Just read this book actually. Didn't read it in school growing up. I must have skipped over it or something. I was drawn in very fast by the exciting premise. Kids on an island! No adults! Kind of like that movie Camp Nowhere except more morbid. I was carried through the book quickly until somewhere in the middle I began to lose steam, but then i was drawn back in towards the end of the book by the profundity of the statement Golding was trying to make. I was trying to figure it out. It asks the question "What is the heart of a human being?" What do we do when we think no one is looking? What are our deepest motivations, and what makes us tick? When Jack's tribe puts on their war paint it is like they can do what they truly want to do. They feel freed. Like their new uniforms are responsible for their actions, not the person beneath the paint. It is interesting to see what people will do when they feel truly uninhibited, though the actions of Jacks tribe really reflect the condition of HIS heart, not the conditions of the individual members of his tribe since they were coerced to join by Jack himself. ANYWAYS! It is my personal opinion that great beauty comes out of this free uninhibited place we have inside us all, not just darkness. I would have liked to see at least a scene or a symbol in this book for the bright side as well as the dark side of humanity. Maybe one of the kids makes a sweet sick ass sandcastle that stretches to the heavens or something and all the kids celebrated its completion. That sounds more like Peter Pan in Neverland though. Hey! Maybe that will be the next kids vs. adults book I read!

David

I just don't buy it.This book is famous for unmasking what brutes we are, just under the surface, but, well, for all the hype, it just isn't convincing. People--even teenage boys--just aren't as savage as Golding seems to want us to believe, and nothing in this book persuades me otherwise.Perhaps if I'd gone to English boarding school I'd feel differently--but then that's the real irony of this book, that the brutality from which the British Empire was supposed to save so many people and cultures was in fact the Brits projecting their own savagery onto others.But the rest of us, no, we aren't monsters underneath. A little messed up, maybe, a little more raw, but nowhere near the kind of brutes that Golding wants us to believe.

Mister Jones

A disclaimer: it wasn't my idea to read this book; a colleague selected this book as part of our students' summer reading program.If there was a time in my life that I liked this book, it must have been in the wee hormonal epoch of my early youth. Frankly, I didn't like it. I found myself not having any empathy for the characters; I found the prose rather tedious, and the plot obviously contrived, and it seemed that Golding made a particular, but obvious effort to attempt to tie everything in with symbolic value. It was a book that I begged for immediate merciful closure.A good point: I will not teach this novel during our normal school sessions, and in that aspect, I thought it was a illuminating read.

Andrew

I was tempted to give this five stars, since in so many ways it strikes me as the kind of masterpiece, like Heart of Darkness, that I imagine will retain its horror and readability for centuries. The prose veers (or as Golding would say it, "tends") from plain to painterly. The story is well known: a sort of allegorical morality play set in modern times -- fancy English boys left to their own devices don't so much as revert to darkness as discover primitive outlets for the darkness reflected in their greater society. This is what I love about Heart of Darkness: try as one might, Kurtz cannot be pigeonholed into good or evil. He is excellent at what he does, and what he does is evil. Kurtz is a true reflection of what excellence was to Colonial Europe, and in so far as Colonial Europe was good, cultivated, honorable, and esteemed, so is Kurtz. Kurtz isn't good or evil; he is true. Golding's version is darker. It centers mostly around the corrupting power of urges to overwhelm social order. Freudian criticism abounds, but the parallel I kept coming back to was Rome. I found that Piggy, no matter how truly annoying he is (another brilliant stroke by Golding is to make Piggy strangely unsympathetic), recalled those numerous Republicans of the Early Empire who advocated in a shrill but useless manner for a return to Senate rule but were shunted aside and usually killed by deranged sociopaths who behaved quite like like Jack. But be it Freudian or historic, any framing of this book feels cheap and hollow because the story has such a complexity of primal urges that it feels almost biological. Golding said he came up with the idea of book after reading his children "Treasure Island or Coral Island or some such Island" in the years of the hydrogen bomb and Stalin and asked his wife, "why don't I write a children's story about how people really are, about how people actually behave?" To me that's a chilling question and it reveals an architecture not based on rigid Freudian or historical or symbolic parallels. Its portrait of sadism could have been lifted out of the newspapers; its struggle for dominion over the weak is an almost sexual frenzy recalls everything I know about torture in the dungeons of Argentine or US military prisons. In this respect, I think the book, like Heart of Darkness, is timeless. But I chose not to give it five stars because at the center of Golding's book is a kind of rigid Christian iconography, like that you find in the Poisonwood Bible, that offends me, perhaps because it reminds me of the way I wrote my Freshman year of college, or perhaps because that rigidity, that allegiance to a=b symbolic logic insults my intelligence. The martyrdom of Simon, I felt, demeaned the human quality of Simon. I liked him best because he struck me as the most shrewd and practical. Reducing him to an icon transforms him into a variable: Simon = Paul or Peter or whomever, but ergo facto Simon ≠ Simon. When he comes down to the beach mutting "something about a body on a hill" Simon ceases to be a reflection of human complexity, or biological completeness, and instead becomes a rehashed precedent from Sunday school. I've often felt that Heart of Darkness' genius was that it somehow reflected the effect of Darwin and modern thinking on the antiquated ideas of Colonial Europe, ie Kurtz isn't good or evil because good and evil are artifices that wilt beneath analysis. When Golding adheres to this materialist perspective, the book is masterly. When he swears allegiance to worn out Christian parables, that complexity is reduced to slips of paper.

Share your thoughts

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *