Saturday, 22 December 2012

Lord of the Flies by William Golding (5/5) [re-read]

GoodReads says: William Golding's compelling story about a group of very ordinary small boys marooned on a coral island has become a modern classic. At first it seems as though it is all going to be great fun; but the fun before long becomes furious and life on the island turns into a nightmare of panic and death. As ordinary standards of behaviour collapse, the whole world the boys know collapses with them—the world of cricket and homework and adventure stories—and another world is revealed beneath, primitive and terrible. Lord of the Flies remains as provocative today as when it was first 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 and literary critics who compared it to J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye in its influence on modern thought and 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 true classic

I say: I honestly have no idea how many times I’ve read this. As a child/teen I was obsessed with the last moments of the story and would re-read the entire book just to feel that sense of relief.
Was that a spoiler?

As always, I don’t really know what to say when I have to review re-reads. I always give it 5/5 because it’s pure perfection in every sense of the word, and it brings up so many questions about humanity. I had to read this for uni and, as per usual, having discussed it and written an essay about it I’m sort of bored of talking about it. However, I will say that the most interesting question this brings out is whether or not there is inherent evil in man?
Or, in this case, boy.

I believe that we all have good and evil inside of us and that the circumstances and consequences dictate which side we choose to turn to. Ralph and Piggy obviously want to make the new society work and still have a conscience – if I may be so bold – whereas Jack and Roger turn to evil in the basest sense of the word. The question is therefore if Jack and Roger were evil from the start but never had the chance to show it, or if the island brought out that evil in them? In my opinion they must have always had some evil instincts, and the fact that there are no consequences for their actions allows for this to be brought to the forefront.
I mean, honestly, how many of us would do the things they did given the chance?

I wouldn’t.
Not in a million years; and not simply because I have never been shipwrecked on a deserted island, but because I have certain morals.
Blah, blah, blah...

Like I said, I could go on for days about this, but shan’t. If you haven’t read this I recommend that you do – straight away – because it’s so action-packed and fast-paced. And if you aren’t interested in the philosophical aspects it still reads like a great novel. More than anything, it scares me.
Every. Time.


  1. I like your review, it resumes the main idea of this book.

    I believe, at the end, the different between the good gang and the bad one is in their own decision. We, human, both have the good and evil sides in us, but at a certain point we could choose with our free will, which side we want to take. Of course taking the good side is much more risky (Ralph must fight the whole tribe), and that's why the good side is often not the most popular choice.

    1. I agree completely about the good side not always being the popular choice. And also, Jack and Roger had the benefit of food, which made most of the other kids join their gang - and later on it was too risky not being a part of the majority; there's always strength in numbers.