Lord of the Flies

Lord of the Flies

At the dawn of the next world war, a plane crashes on an uncharted island, stranding a group of schoolboys. At first, with no adult supervision, their freedom is something to celebrate; this far from civilization the boys can do anything they want. Anything. They attempt to forge their own society, failing, however, in the face of terror, sin and evil. And as order collaps...

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Title:Lord of the Flies
Author:William Golding
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Lord of the Flies Reviews

  • Nancy

    is one of the most disturbing books I've ever read. It was required high school reading and since then, I've read it four more times. It is as disturbing now as it was then. Using a group of innocent schoolboys stranded on an island, the author very realistically portrays human behavior in an environment where civilization no longer has meaning.

  • Silvana

    This book is horrifying. I'm scared like hell. Totally.

    I was expecting an adventure book telling about some children who got stranded in an island, but ended up with goosebumps.

    A bit of synopsis: A number of English school boys suffered from a plane accident causing them to get stranded in an uninhibited island. The period was maybe during the World War II. Trying to be civilized, they elected a leader for themselves as well started the division of tasks (hunters, fire-watchers

    This book is horrifying. I'm scared like hell. Totally.

    I was expecting an adventure book telling about some children who got stranded in an island, but ended up with goosebumps.

    A bit of synopsis: A number of English school boys suffered from a plane accident causing them to get stranded in an uninhibited island. The period was maybe during the World War II. Trying to be civilized, they elected a leader for themselves as well started the division of tasks (hunters, fire-watchers, etc). Things turned bad when there's a power struggle between the group leaders, worsened by various sightings of a monster in the island. No, don't think about "Lost" because this is way different.

    No wonder I had goosebumps at the end, because this book is so true to what happens in the world today. When men tried to govern themselves (and started the whole process with goodwill inside), but blinded with egotism and lust for power, tragedy and destruction in society are inevitable.

    Human nature is corrupt, it only takes a trivial thing to make its nature controlled by nothing but malice. This book represents a perfect allegory for men. Culture fails repeatedly and no matter how hard we can repress it, nothing will ever stop the drive to become savages.

    Despite its length and easy-to-read narration, this is certainly one of the most haunting, powerful books I've ever read. Now I know why this book is listed in so many lists of greatest books in the 20th century.

  • Lisa

    "We did everything adults would do. What went wrong?"

    You did everything adults would do. That's what went wrong.

    There is much to be said against this novel, and it has been said, eloquently, poignantly, many times. Let me make a case for keeping it on the curriculum despite the dated language, the graphic violence, the author's personality...

    There are two myths about adolescents, and this novel does away with them in a - admittedly - drastic way. First of all, there is

    "We did everything adults would do. What went wrong?"

    You did everything adults would do. That's what went wrong.

    There is much to be said against this novel, and it has been said, eloquently, poignantly, many times. Let me make a case for keeping it on the curriculum despite the dated language, the graphic violence, the author's personality...

    There are two myths about adolescents, and this novel does away with them in a - admittedly - drastic way. First of all, there is no general innocence in adolescents. They do what grown-ups do, but in a less mature and experienced way. That means they cheat, lie and steal, and use violence to achieve their goals, and they are vain and interested in dominating and manipulating others. But they are also caring, loving and resourceful, and willing to serve the community in which they participate.

    The second myth regards the helplessness and general dependence of adolescents, which is also only true as long as they have grown-ups around. Leave adolescents alone, and they will organise themselves. The best example of what happens to a group of teenagers left alone is shown if a teacher in a (civilised) school in a (civilised) country leaves for just a couple of minutes.

    If you have never experienced the amount of destructive power that is possible in that short time-span, you might think Golding exaggerates. Unfortunately, I can see any group of students turning into the characters in The Lord Of The Flies if they are put in the situation. I even know who would be the leaders, who would fight, who would bully, who would play along, and who would go under. Add teenage girls to the mixture and hell breaks loose.

    Reading this novel with teenagers - if it is done with a big heart for their developmental stages and their hormonal glitches - gives them an opportunity to discuss a topic they already know everything about from their own lives but often keep hidden from naive, romantic grown-ups: the heart of an adolescent has dark corners, and it is important to shed light on the pain young people are able to cause each other if they are under the impression that they are not seen by the higher authority of the grown-up world.

    Teenagers are grown-ups in training, and they make all the beginner mistakes without having the perspective to see the end of the tunnel.

    Reading offers perspective!

  • Emily May

    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,

    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

    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,

    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.

    Of course, to a modern reader there's a lot of racism in this book. The racial aspect is a big factor. Golding establishes from the very first page that Ralph is a perfect white, blonde-haired, blue-eyed, private school boy. And Piggy even asks

    I'm not going to argue with anyone's interpretation, but I think there is actually room to see this book as a criticism 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

    and proceeds to show us how these private school silver spoon 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

    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

    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.

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  • Lyn

    Years after I read this masterpiece, it is still chilling.

    Golding spins a yarn that could have been told centuries ago, primal human nature unmoored from civilization does not take long to break away and devolve into a feral thing.

    As good today, and as haunting, as it was when it was published in 1954. This should be on a list of books that must be read.

    ** 2018 addendum - it is a testament to great literature that a reader recalls the work years later and this is a book about which I frequently think.

  • Henry Avila

    A British airplane on fire crashes on a deserted isolated South Sea's island, in the middle of an atomic war set in the near future . All the grown-ups are killed and only children 12 and younger survive, how are they to cope (basically an allegorical story of what is human nature , good or evil ?) . Ralph is chosen leader, "Piggy" his intellectual sidekick he wears glasses, this beautiful green tropical coral isle with a blue lagoon magnificent palm trees, better yet coconut trees too and plent

    A British airplane on fire crashes on a deserted isolated South Sea's island, in the middle of an atomic war set in the near future . All the grown-ups are killed and only children 12 and younger survive, how are they to cope (basically an allegorical story of what is human nature , good or evil ?) . Ralph is chosen leader, "Piggy" his intellectual sidekick he wears glasses, this beautiful green tropical coral isle with a blue lagoon magnificent palm trees, better yet coconut trees too and plenty of yellow bananas, other fruits are seen. Wild numerous pigs in the forest, plenty of fish in the ocean so no worries right...Wrong! Ralph has a rescue fire set which goes sadly out of control , and one of the boys is never seen again, Jack doesn't like playing second fiddle to Ralph. He takes his group of choirboys followers and leaves, to form a new fierce warrior tribe on Castle Rock, painting their faces and becoming great hunters....Since Piggy's eye glasses are the only way the kids can start a fire, Jack raids Ralph's shelter and steals it, the poor helpless boy can't function without them, blind as a bat ( I know it's a misnomer, but it sounds great). Complicating the situation is the mysterious "Beast," on the mountain is it real? Or just a legend...Earlier Simon sees the evil head of a large boar on a stick , in the middle of the forest (Lord of the Flies). He has a haunting vision and flees towards the children, scaring them all. In the darkness they believe it's the beast and have to defend themselves, with whatever weapons they possess ..a tragedy occurs. Later the two"tribes" struggle for supremacy on the island....Will the wicked inherit the Earth? And maybe the last outpost of civilization left is here... This novel is a superb narrative of today's nations wars of conquest, anything is good as long as your side wins...

  • Sean Barrs the Bookdragon

    For me, this quote sums up the entire book. It’s a powerful exploration of humanity and the wrongness of our society and it also demonstrates the hypocrisy of war. Adults judge the behaviour of children, but are they really any better? I think not.

    The scary thing about this book is how real it is.

    bespeaks the brilliance of realistic dystopian fiction, it gives you a possible world scenario, a bunch of very human characters and

    For me, this quote sums up the entire book. It’s a powerful exploration of humanity and the wrongness of our society and it also demonstrates the hypocrisy of war. Adults judge the behaviour of children, but are they really any better? I think not.

    The scary thing about this book is how real it is.

    bespeaks the brilliance of realistic dystopian fiction, it gives you a possible world scenario, a bunch of very human characters and then it shows you want might happen when they are thrown into a terrible situation: they act like monsters (or humans?) What Golding shows us is that we are not so far from our primal nature, from our so called killer instincts, and all it takes is a little push out of the standard world we live in for us to embrace our darker side.

    The boys act in accordance with what they have seen in the world (though they don’t understand limits.) Power creates authority and violence is a way to achieve the peace you want. Sort of ironic isn’t it? They go to war amongst themselves and in doing so lose all sense of childhood innocence. They grow up. They learn what humans are capable of doing when pushed. They become ‘savages’ and reject civilisation and create their own sense of community, though in another display of irony this in itself becomes a mini-civilisation- just a one of their own accord without any rules and a nasty child tyrant enthroned as chief.

    The novel is rich in allegory to the point where it has been interpreted in so many different ways over the years. Like all great literature, it could mean lots of things and nothing at all. It’s a very clever piece of writing and it got me thinking a great deal about children and how we protect them from the realities of the world. It sort of says something to me, a quiet acknowledgement about how messed up things can be given the right circumstances and these children are so very quick to embrace it with unflinching enthusiasm (at least, when one of them leads the way.)

    It’s a good book with a lot of ideas though at times I found the prose a little hard to follow. The dialogue is confusing at times and many of the children fade into the background with only a small few developing distinct personalities. I found the first part of the story particularly difficult to read, so in terms of the actual execution I think it could have been done a little better. I found myself wanting to edit sections of the text, which is not a place a reader should ever be in especially with a novel this revered by so many enthusiastic readers, critics and students. Maybe I’m just a little picky with word placement.

    Overall though, I’m glad I spent the time to revisit it. There are so many pop-culture references to this that a reminder was needed.

  • Virginia Ronan ♥ Herondale ♥

    So this was a book many people had to read when they went to school and in some way this already says a lot about

    . Like so many of the books that are required to be read during people’s educational careers this one wasn’t only full of serious topics but also dealt with ethical values.

    I me

    So this was a book many people had to read when they went to school and in some way this already says a lot about

    . Like so many of the books that are required to be read during people’s educational careers this one wasn’t only full of serious topics but also dealt with ethical values.

    I mean we have boys between the ages of 6 and 12 who are stranded on an island after they had a plane crash. There is no adult who would force them to stay in line; there is no authority that would tell them what's right or wrong. They are left to their own devices and even though they were doing as good as you would expect schoolboys to do, they still were fairly decent at the beginning of the book.

    Oh, how often I thought back to this quote when I read on with horror, every new chapter revealing another aspect of the dark abyss of human kind. The morale dilemma of Ralph and Piggy was so intense that I couldn’t help but feel with them whenever something bad and terrible happened. They were the only ones that tried to get order into the chaos but on an island without any rules only the strongest remain.

    The fight of savageness vs. civilisation was so tangible it hurt and I constantly found myself sitting at the edge of my seat hoping against all hope, that civilisation would actually win. It doesn’t take a genius to know that it didn’t. Why hold on to moral standards? Why listen to reason if you can have a kingdom of your own? Why should you accept someone else’s opinion if you’re stronger and can force them to obey your own rules? You know it better than the others, right?!

    I know I’m being provocative here but it is how it is. The strongest will always try to rule the weak. It’s been done for centuries and I doubt that it will ever stop. It’s as much a part of human nature as breathing and let’s face the bitter truth: There’s darkness in all of us. We can only decide if we fight it or let it in. ;-)

    If you ask me there certainly was a monster on the island or should I rather say that there were monsters?

    It weren’t monsters that had been there all along though. No, it were the monsters that had fallen from the sky, claiming the island as their own, doing as they pleased because they could do so without anyone to stop them. The monsters on the island came from the outside and despite their claims to want to get off of the island they all knew that they actually wanted to stay.

    So in the end things took their natural course and got worse and worse. The descent into savageness was inexorable and the book ended on a heavy note. I can only speak for myself but the ending was brilliant. Brilliant and shocking and so very, very realistic that it caused me to ache even more. Those stupid boys... those stupid, stupid little boys. *shakes head*

    Anyway, if you want to read a really good book which will haunt you days after you finished it, this should be your choice. *lol* After all I finished

    almost a week ago and I’m still thinking about it. ;-)

    Happy Reading! I hope you’ll enjoy it as well!

  • 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 c

    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.

  • Mk

    I hated this book. First off, as I remember, it talks about humans failure to govern ourselves, or more broadly the failures of human nature. There are a few reasons why I think simply dropping a group of kids on a desert island does not in fact prove anything.

    1) These kids were raised in a capitalist, nominally demcratic society. The first thing they do is appoint leaders. As someone who spends my time working in consensus based groups seeking to challenge hierarchical structures, I

    I hated this book. First off, as I remember, it talks about humans failure to govern ourselves, or more broadly the failures of human nature. There are a few reasons why I think simply dropping a group of kids on a desert island does not in fact prove anything.

    1) These kids were raised in a capitalist, nominally demcratic society. The first thing they do is appoint leaders. As someone who spends my time working in consensus based groups seeking to challenge hierarchical structures, I have a strong belief that this is not how things need to be. It takes a bunch of unlearning and relearning to use these formats - simply being in a new space or being a child does not do this work. The author and the children he writes about are a part of a specific culture, and it's incorrect to generalize these values to a broader concept of human nature.

    2) They're all boys! Again, socialization (yes, even of a 6 year old) plays a huge role in what behavior we see as appropriate. While it's quite true that men (or at least masculinity) control government, it's ridiculous to use only boys to extrapolate what ways of governing ourselves are possible.

    I read this book in 1996 when I was a freshman in highschool, so maybe there's something I missed. Or maybe my memories are being colored by just how gross the pig's head descriptions were. If so, feel free to correct me. For now though, I have to say that this book is offensive and makes dangerous assumption.

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