Somehow, I missed this book during my school years. I remember seeing stacks of them in our school, but it was never assigned in one of my classes. I can see why it is a staple of high school curriculums, however, since it’s themes are easily seen and interpreted. There is plenty to discuss.
I would have appreciated it in high school, having struggled with Orwell’s Animal Farm instead. Lord of the Flies is pretty straight-forward in its depiction of the descent of supposedly civilized British boarding school boys into “savages” when left without adult supervision. Perhaps it is also a comment on boarding schools in general, which a couple of my friends have experienced (and do not recommend).
I find myself wondering how Golding would have written things differently if there were girls in the mix. Would they have been considered a “civilizing influence”? Or would they have become prizes or hostages in some boy’s competition? How did the “Little’uns” manage to escape the worst of the mistreatment that can be dished out when group dynamics go awry?
I chose this book after reading Barrie’s Peter Pan last year, wanting to contrast the “lost boys” in both novels. Unlike Barrie’s Lost Boys, the boys in LOTF have to grow up. Golding makes them struggle with adult responsibilities that they really aren’t prepared for, like keeping a signal fire going and building adequate shelters. I was also reminded of Robinson Crusoe, but his journey was actually towards religion, rather than away from it. Many years with only a Bible to read turns him into a religious man, which at the time would be considered more civilized.
A worthwhile book, but not one that I will ever likely re-read.
It might be regarded as a classic book, but "Lord of the Flies" is not what I would describe as an easy read. Confronting the reader, as William Golding does, with a rather bleak and brutal portrayal of youth unfettered by the boundaries of social norms. Indeed, this novel suggests we may remain a very uncomfortably short step from the savagery supposedly consigned to primitive human history. The fact that the protagonists are children only magnifies the horror of the characters' amoral behaviour and irreverent attitude to life.
Marooned on a desert island, the only survivors of a plane crash are a group of schoolboys, comprising littluns and bigguns. At the outset, the scenario has the feel of an adventure, but as the harsh realities of survival kick-in, the group becomes fractured and set upon an inevitable trajectory of conflict.
In many ways it is a rather tragic story, with fatal consequences for some. Still, the examination of bullying, the potential folly of unchallenged, charismatic, macho leadership and the value of social rules makes this an obvious choice for GCSE study. Though I have come to it very late, I can understand why this book retains popularity and is regarded as an important contribution to English literature. Still, it offers up a very unflattering impression of man-kind. Like father, like son?
This book was about a group of boys who plane crashed on an uninhabited island. The pilot dies but most of the boys survive. The first two boys who find each other are Ralph and a boy nicknamed Piggy. Ralph finds a conch and blows to gather and find the rest of the boys. Realizing there are no adults, they name Ralph chief and he leads them to explore the island. Over time Ralph comes up with rules. The main one being to keep a fire on the mountaintop in case a ship passes. Jack, whose in charge of hunting doesn't keep the fire going because he focuses on hunting and lets a ship pass. Instead of being outraged, the boys celebrate chanting "Kill the pig, Cut her throat, Bash her in". Ralph and Piggy become upset with the boys behavior and have a meeting to criticize them. Meanwhile some show concern for a "beast" that they think is on the island. Later, the twins Sam and Eric are gathering wood when they see a dead pilot (who parachuted and landed on the island) and mistake it for the beast. After hearing the news the boys decide to search the island and hunt the beast. On the hunt Jack kills a boar and the resumes their chant. When they get back Ralph dismisses the hunters again leading to an argument where Jack wants Ralph to no longer be chief. No one agrees with him and he runs to the other side of the island in tears. However, one by one the boys (except Piggy, Sam, and Eric) change their mind because they are annoyed with Ralph's persistence in having a fire. Jack has a feast to celebrate and leaves the pigs head on a stick as a gift to the beast. Meanwhile Simon is wandering around and finds the pigs head with flies around it and calls it the Lord of the Flies. He imagines it talking to him but then later sees the dead pilot and realizes the boys mistake when he goes down to tell the boys what he found they mistake him for the beast, tackle him, and kill him. Later that night Jacks tribe attacks the four boys for Piggy's glasses (what was being used to start the fire). After the attack, the four boys decide to groom themselves and go to castle rock (where Jack's tribe is staying) and appeal as civilized people as appose to Jacks tribe who are naked and painted with clay. When Jack doesn't listen to Ralph, Ralph calls them "painted fools", and Piggy asks "Is it better to be a pack of painted Indians or sensible like Ralph?" But Roger tips a rock to hit Piggy and he falls off the mountain and dies. Sam and Eric are ordered to be tied up and Ralph is chased out with spears hurled at him. He hides for the night but the next day he gets chased again and manages to stab two people or as he calls them savages. Then they smoke out the island burning everything including the fruit, to close him in and kill him. But as he runs towards the beach a naval officer with his ship is waiting for them having seen the fire. When he sees the boys he thinks their playing and scolds them for their wild behavior.
This book connects with me because I learned many lessons from the book. For example one I learned was how society affects our natural state of evilness. On the island, Jack and the other acted violent with their rituals for cutting the pig and other things like when they tried killing "the beast" (when they really killed Simon). However the thing that motivates their evilness is the thing they fear, the beast. In the real world they wouldn't be able to do any of this in the first place. Another book I read similar to this is The Hunger Games. The summary and situations are different in the books, but they both show the same concept of savagery vs. civility. This connects to the world because it can make you think of what can happen if there is no proper government or order, and why it's important to have a proper and good leader. In the book when the boys no longer listened and followed the rules they acted as "savages". Under Ralph's leadership they, worked together and could've been rescued soon. But under Jack's leadership they made unwise decisions and did what ever they wanted, instead of what would contribute to the bigger goal.
I would recommend this book to anyone who likes books that make you think. However I would mostly recommend this to adults because the conflict can be indirect and confusing, and at some points the book is difficult to understand. This book includes suspense, action, surprise. And it's interesting how the book reveals the personality's and traits of the characters. Overall I would say it's a good book.
Team reading this one with my 12-year-old. He doesn't love it, and I don't blame him, really. The language and tendency to use a bunch of words with out saying anything is kind of grating. According to my pre-teen: "This author just says 'and' over and over. And this and this and that and that."
But, that's not what Lord of the Flies is about.
I'm afraid he's probably not going to get the subtleties of the journey to madness for THESE 12-year-olds, but I do. That's the best part of Lord of the Flies.
Here's the freaky part:
For a 12-year-old by, it's not a long journey.
If any book deserves an updated re-write, it's this one. It happens with movies all the time. Why not books?
This is one kids are asked to read before they are ready and end up spending the rest of their lives thinking books are dumb.
Read with your kids.
And tell Piggy to watch out for that rock!