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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 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 collapses, as strange howls echo in the night, as terror begins its reign, the hope of adventure seems as far from reality as the hope of being rescued. 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 is perhaps our most memorable tale about “the end of innocence, the darkness of man’s heart.”


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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 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 collapses, as strange howls echo in the night, as terror begins its reign, the hope of adventure seems as far from reality as the hope of being rescued. 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 is perhaps our most memorable tale about “the end of innocence, the darkness of man’s heart.”

30 review for Lord of the Flies (Penguin audiobooks)

  1. 4 out of 5

    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 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. 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 "Which is better - to be a pack of painted n*****s like you are or to be sensible like Ralph is?" 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 screw that, I'll show you savages! 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 "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. Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube

  2. 4 out of 5

    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 t 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.

  3. 4 out of 5

    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, etc). Things tur 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.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    Lord of the Flies 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. Lord of the Flies 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.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Sean Barrs

    “We did everything adults would do. What went wrong?” 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. The Lord of the Flies bespeaks the brilliance of realistic dystopian fiction, it gives you a possible world scenario, a bunch of very h “We did everything adults would do. What went wrong?” 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. The Lord of the Flies 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. “What are we? Humans? Or animals? Or savages?” 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.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    508. Lord of the flies, William Golding Lord of the Flies is a 1954 novel by Nobel Prize–winning British author William Golding. The book focuses on a group of British boys stranded on an uninhabited island and their disastrous attempt to govern themselves. In the midst of a wartime evacuation, a British aeroplane crashes on or near an isolated island in a remote region of the Pacific Ocean. The only survivors are boys in their middle childhood or preadolescence. Two boys—the fair-haired Ralph and 508. Lord of the flies, William Golding Lord of the Flies is a 1954 novel by Nobel Prize–winning British author William Golding. The book focuses on a group of British boys stranded on an uninhabited island and their disastrous attempt to govern themselves. In the midst of a wartime evacuation, a British aeroplane crashes on or near an isolated island in a remote region of the Pacific Ocean. The only survivors are boys in their middle childhood or preadolescence. Two boys—the fair-haired Ralph and an overweight, bespectacled boy nicknamed "Piggy"—find a conch, which Ralph uses as a horn to convene all the survivors to one area. Ralph is optimistic, believing that grownups will come to rescue them but Piggy realises the need to organise ("put first things first and act proper"). Because Ralph appears responsible for bringing all the survivors together, he immediately commands some authority over the other boys and is quickly elected their "chief". He does not receive the votes of the members of a boys' choir, led by the red-headed Jack Merridew, although he allows the choir boys to form a separate clique of hunters. Ralph establishes three primary policies: to have fun, to survive, and to constantly maintain a smoke signal that could alert passing ships to their presence on the island and thus rescue them. The boys establish a form of democracy by declaring that whoever holds the conch shall also be able to speak at their formal gatherings and receive the attentive silence of the larger group. Jack organises his choir into a hunting party responsible for discovering a food source. Ralph, Jack, and a quiet, dreamy boy named Simon soon form a loose triumvirate of leaders with Ralph as the ultimate authority. Upon inspection of the island, the three determine that it has fruit and wild pigs for food. The boys also use Piggy's glasses to create a fire. Although he is Ralph's only real confidant, Piggy is quickly made into an outcast by his fellow "biguns" (older boys) and becomes the butt of the other boys' jokes. Simon, in addition to supervising the project of constructing shelters, feels an instinctive need to protect the "littluns" (younger boys). The semblance of order quickly deteriorates as the majority of the boys turn idle; they give little aid in building shelters, spend their time having fun and begin to develop paranoias about the island. The central paranoia refers to a supposed monster they call the "beast", which they all slowly begin to believe exists on the island. Ralph insists that no such beast exists, but Jack, who has started a power struggle with Ralph, gains a level of control over the group by boldly promising to kill the creature. At one point, Jack summons all of his hunters to hunt down a wild pig, drawing away those assigned to maintain the signal fire. A ship travels by the island, but without the boys' smoke signal to alert the ship's crew, the vessel continues without stopping. Ralph angrily confronts Jack about his failure to maintain the signal; in frustration Jack assaults Piggy, breaking one of the lenses of his glasses. The boys subsequently enjoy their first feast. Angered by the failure of the boys to attract potential rescuers, Ralph considers relinquishing his position as leader, but is persuaded not to do so by Piggy, who both understands Ralph's importance and fears what will become of him should Jack take total control. ... عنوانها: «سالار مگس ها»؛ «خداوندگار مگسها»؛ «بعل زبوب»؛ نویسنده: سر ویلیام گلدینگ؛ (بهجت، ابتکار، افراشته، آپادانا، ابر سفید، رهنما، امیرکبیر)؛ ادبیات انگلستان؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش روز بیست و پنجم ماه اکتبر سال 2012میلادی عنوان: سالار مگس ها ؛ نویسنده: سر ویلیام گلدینگ؛ مترجم: حمید رفیعی؛ تهران، بهجت، 1353، در 372ص؛ چاپ سوم 1385؛ شابک 9646671918؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان انگلیسی - سده 20م عنوان: بعل زبوب ؛ نویسنده: سر ویلیام گلدینگ؛ مترجم: محمود مشرف آزاد (م آزاد)؛ تهران، ابتکار، 1363، در 270ص؛ عنوان: سالار مگس ها ؛ نویسنده: سر ویلیام گلدینگ؛ مترجم: رضا دیداری؛ تهران، افراشته، 1363؛ در 282ص؛ عنوان: سالار مگس ها؛ نویسنده: سر ویلیام گلدینگ؛ مترجم: سوسن اردکانی (شاهین)؛ تهران، آپادانا، 1363؛ در 336ص؛ چاپ دیگر تهران، ابر سفید، 1390، در 327ص؛ شابک 9786009254552؛ عنوان: سالار مگسها؛ نویسنده: سر ویلیام گلدینگ؛ مترجم مژگان منصوری؛ تهران، پرگل، 1379؛ چاپ دیگر تهران، رهنما، 1382؛ در 443ص؛ شابک 9643670937؛ چاپ دیگر 1385؛ چاپ بعدی 1388؛ شابک 9789643670931؛ عنوان: خداوندگار مگس ها؛ نویسنده: سر ویلیام گلدینگ؛ مترجم: جواد پیمان؛ تهران، امیرکبیر، چاپ دوم 1395؛ در 287ص؛ شابک 9789640018743؛ از جمله آثار برجسته ی کلاسیک جهان، که «ویلیام گلدینگ» در آن؛ شور و هیجان را در یک قصه ی تمثیلی، با قدرت و صداقت توصیف کرده، داستان ماجرای شگفت آور گروهی پسر بچه است، در مدرسه ای انگلیسی، که در طی جنگ هسته ای و خانمانسوز، عازم منطقه ای امن میشوند؛ ولی سقوط هواپیما، آنها را ملزم به اقامت در جزیره ای استوایی میکند؛ در آغاز، همه چیز به خوبی پیش میرود، و آنها بی دغدغه و سبک بال، جزیره ی خوش آب و رنگ و سرسبز را، درمینوردند؛ اما اندک زمانی، پس از آن، شرارت و تندخویی پسرها، بهشت زمینی را، به دوزخی از آتش و خون، مبدل میکند، و تمامی مظاهر خرد و پاک اندیشی، از وجودشان رخت برمیبندد؛ کشمکش درونی نیروهای متضاد خیر و شر، درون مایه ی داستان را شکل میدهد تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 22/06/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی

  7. 4 out of 5

    Adina

    Edit: A friend send me this article of a real situation where a group of kids were left stranded on an island for 15 months. Spoiler alert, the Lord of The Flies scenario never happened, the boys behaved and organized themselves wonderfully https://www.theguardian.com/books/202... .Maybe,” he said hesitantly, “maybe there is a beast.” “What I mean is . . . maybe it’s only us.”. That quote sums up very well the idea of this modern classic. I ran away from this novel for years but it finally caught u Edit: A friend send me this article of a real situation where a group of kids were left stranded on an island for 15 months. Spoiler alert, the Lord of The Flies scenario never happened, the boys behaved and organized themselves wonderfully https://www.theguardian.com/books/202... .Maybe,” he said hesitantly, “maybe there is a beast.” “What I mean is . . . maybe it’s only us.”. That quote sums up very well the idea of this modern classic. I ran away from this novel for years but it finally caught up with me or I tripped, who knows? It was a lot more interesting than I expected and it was worth my time but I would not say I loved it. During some sort of war, a plane crashes on an island and the only survivors are a bunch of kids. Forced to stay alive without the guidance and surveillance of adults some start to behave crazy and cruel. I guess the morale is that people are civilized because there are rules that are reinforced and if the society gets rid of them some of use will return to our animal state or worse. While I admit that the story is thought-provoking and a classic, a pioneer of the subject, I cannot say I enjoyed reading it too much. Not much happens for most of the book and when it does it feels rushed. Also, the author spent a lot more time describing the nature than the characters or their experience. I had problems distinguishing between the children and I did not manage to form a strong opinion either about the positive characters or the negative ones. Finally, I think it did not age well, it is hard to explain why I have this impression. I both listened to and read Lord of The Flies. While listening I got lost in the descriptions (read bored) so I thought the written version was more suitable for this story.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Virginia Ronan ♥ Herondale ♥

    ”They accepted the pleasures of morning, the bright sun, the whelming sea and sweet air, as a time when play was good and life so full that hope was not necessary and therefore forgotten.” 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 “Lord of the Flies”. 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 ”They accepted the pleasures of morning, the bright sun, the whelming sea and sweet air, as a time when play was good and life so full that hope was not necessary and therefore forgotten.” 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 “Lord of the Flies”. 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. “I agree with Ralph. We’ve got to have rules and obey them. After all, we’re not savages. We’re English; and the English are the best at everything. So we’ve got to do the right things.” 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. ”I got you meat!” Numberless and inexpressible frustrations combined to make his rage elemental and awe-inspiring. “I painted my face – I stole up. Now you eat – all of you – and I –“ 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?! ”If I blow the conch and they don’t come back; then we’ve had it. We shan’t keep the fire going. We’ll be like animals. We’ll never be rescued.” 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. ;-) ”Look, Ralph. We got to forget this. We can’t do no good thinking about it, see?” “I’m frightened. Of us. I want to go home. O god I want to go home.” ”The thing is – fear can’t hurt you any more than a dream. There aren’t any beasts to be afraid of on this island.” If you ask me there certainly was a monster on the island or should I rather say that there were monsters? Plural. 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. ”I’m scared of him,” said Piggy, “and that’s why I know him. If you’re scared of someone you hate him but you can’t stop thinking about him. You kid yourself he’s all right really, an’ then when you see him again; it’s like asthma an’ you can’t breathe.” 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 “Lord of the Flies” almost a week ago and I’m still thinking about it. ;-) Happy Reading! I hope you’ll enjoy it as well! (view spoiler)[Those are two quotes that were perfect and moved me so damn much when I read the book. Because they would spoil too much and would give away some crucial parts of the plot I didn’t write them down in the actual review though. Anyway if you read the book already you might as well enjoy them now: ”Piggy.” “Uh?” “That was Simon.” “You said that before.” “Piggy.” “Uh?” “That was murder.” ”And in the middle of them, Ralph wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of man’s heart, and the fall through the air of the true, wise friend called Piggy.” (hide spoiler)]

  9. 5 out of 5

    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 no general innocence in "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!

  10. 4 out of 5

    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 have a stro 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.

  11. 4 out of 5

    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...

  12. 5 out of 5

    Cecily

    A hard book to rate as although its well written and is very thought provoking, the content gets unpleasantly graphic and some aspects are awkwardly dated (eg the assumption the British boys should be jolly good chaps - “we’re not savages, we’re English”). Plot It starts off as a conventional adventure: a mixed group of boys (some know each other; many who don’t) survive a plane crash on a desert island and struggle to survive. It is somewhat confused and confusing at first – perhaps to make the r A hard book to rate as although its well written and is very thought provoking, the content gets unpleasantly graphic and some aspects are awkwardly dated (eg the assumption the British boys should be jolly good chaps - “we’re not savages, we’re English”). Plot It starts off as a conventional adventure: a mixed group of boys (some know each other; many who don’t) survive a plane crash on a desert island and struggle to survive. It is somewhat confused and confusing at first – perhaps to make the reader empathise with the boys’ confusion. From the outset there are issues of priorities (Jack’s instant gratification of hunting or Ralph’s long term need for shelter and maintaining a fire signal) and leadership. It’s inevitable that standards of “civilization” will slip. There is also an infectious fear of “the beast”, although whether one interprets it as animal, airman, hallucination, or symbolic may vary at different points in the story. Certainly the tone of the book changes after Simon’s first encounter with Lord of the Flies. Image: Teaching Lord of the Flies, by The Jenkins Comic (Source) Group Dynamics Eventually the boys split into two groups: hunters who become ever more “savage” in appearance and behaviour, and the remainder who want to retain order, safety, common sense – and their lives. Why do the obedient and angelic choir turn to savagery - does the fact they have an identified leader, who isn't the overall leader once they're on the island, contribute? One also wonders how the story might be different if it was a mixed sex group, or even an all girl group. Very different, certainly, and I suppose it would provide a distraction to what Golding was trying to say about human (or just male?) nature. It illustrates how petty bullying can be condoned and encouraged within groups (exacerbated by rituals, chanting, body markings etc) and how it can escalate to much worse. Nevertheless, one of the main victims, Piggy, is proud of his differences, demonstrates knowledge and intelligence and actually grows in confidence as his leader loses his. Milgran, Zimbardo, Christianity... It questions whether it is power or the environment that makes some of the boys so bad (echoes of Zimbardo’s prison experiments and Milgram’s obedience experiments - if a book can echo things which came after it was written). In fact, Golding "experimented, while a teacher at a public school, with setting boys against one another in the manner of Lord of the Flies"! See HERE (thanks Matt). The more Christian concept of original sin runs through it, which was probably Golding's intention (his editor made him make Simon less Jesus-like), along with other Christian analogies relating to snakes, devils (aka Lord of the Flies), self sacrifice, and redemption/rescue. And then there are the conch and fire as symbols of order and god, respectively, in total contrast to the warpaint etc of the warriors. Lots to think about, but more the stuff of nightmares than dreams. Compared with The Hunger Games It's interesting to compare this with The Hunger Games, which modern teens probably find much easier to relate to (see my review HERE). I think one problem Lord of the Flies has is that the period is tricky: too far from the present to seem "relevant" (though I think it is), but not long enough ago to be properly historical. Compared with I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream For another dysfunctional group trying to survive a very different ordeal, see Harlan Ellison's horrific short story about an evil supercomputer, which I reviewed HERE.

  13. 4 out of 5

    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 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.

  14. 5 out of 5

    The Artisan Geek

    1/6/20 One of the worst books I have ever read. The experience was excruciating. 30/5/20 Giving this one another shot. Tried last year and the first 30 pages were so painful. Did a lot of research on this book (spoke to a couple of people as well) and I feel like if I don't get through it this time around, I probably never will. 24/3/19 I got this book at the De Slegte many years ago but never read it. However now, Rory Power is bringing out a book coming July called Wilder Girls, with I heard is a 1/6/20 One of the worst books I have ever read. The experience was excruciating. 30/5/20 Giving this one another shot. Tried last year and the first 30 pages were so painful. Did a lot of research on this book (spoke to a couple of people as well) and I feel like if I don't get through it this time around, I probably never will. 24/3/19 I got this book at the De Slegte many years ago but never read it. However now, Rory Power is bringing out a book coming July called Wilder Girls, with I heard is a feminist retelling of this. I'm hoping to compare the two, so this might just be the push for me to finally read this one :) You can find me on Youtube | Instagram | Twitter | Tumblr | Website

  15. 4 out of 5

    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 culture 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.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Yulia

    I was Piggy (well, in personality at least, though not in portliness). I hated everyone who picked on him. I still do. Should people be forgiven for what they do on a deserted island? That depends on whether you think their true nature has revealed itself, or their humanity has been corrupted by circumstance and stress. In a world where almost every human trait is now considered a product of both nature and nurture, would Golding have written his tale differently today? No, I don't believe so. H I was Piggy (well, in personality at least, though not in portliness). I hated everyone who picked on him. I still do. Should people be forgiven for what they do on a deserted island? That depends on whether you think their true nature has revealed itself, or their humanity has been corrupted by circumstance and stress. In a world where almost every human trait is now considered a product of both nature and nurture, would Golding have written his tale differently today? No, I don't believe so. He was quite ahead of his time to believe some of the boys, though certainly not the majority, still remained moral despite the situation. The question is, what would have happened to me? It was impossible not to wonder after I read this book.

  17. 4 out of 5

    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 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.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Helen (Helena/Nell)

    Over the years I must have read this book five or six times. Last night I was reading it on a train with a highlighter in my hand, because I decided to teach it this year again. Teachers wreck books, of course. We all know that. On the other hand, whatever you have to study-read, you tend to carry a bit of it with you. You don't forget that book, at least. Although I must add, that it's quite risky introducing to a Scottish classroom a book with the memorable words: "The English are best at ever Over the years I must have read this book five or six times. Last night I was reading it on a train with a highlighter in my hand, because I decided to teach it this year again. Teachers wreck books, of course. We all know that. On the other hand, whatever you have to study-read, you tend to carry a bit of it with you. You don't forget that book, at least. Although I must add, that it's quite risky introducing to a Scottish classroom a book with the memorable words: "The English are best at everything...." I wasn't sure how much it would have dated. I must have read it for the first time 30 years ago. Published in 1954, the phrasing would have been pretty modern then. Even now, most of it has work well. The phrase that jumped at me -- and it only appeared once -- was when Piggy (I think) compared the boys detrimentally to 'niggers', instead of just 'savages'. Ouch. Mental note to make them look hard at this bit. After all this is such a horrible little group of boys. As complacently white as can be, one group of them from a choir school (or a public school with a choir), no less. And Ralph, the 'hero', son of a naval officer. Golding, as a teacher in an upmarket school, presumably knew those sort of boys all too well. The boys being prepared to carry the empire forward. Except the setting suggests the empire may not be going forward. Somebody somewhere is fighting a war that is evidently nuclear. It's never quite clear what is going on or how the officer turns up cool as cucumber on a naval cutter at the end. Most of the young people in my class this year have (sigh) seen the film, so they know what happens. The group of boys marooned on an idyllic Pacific Island first start off having a sort of cheery adventure. There are references to Coral Island, Swallows and Amazons and Treasure Island too. They want to have fun, and one of their number -- Jack -- talks a great deal about 'fun', though his idea of fun is killing pigs. They arrive a fairly civilised little group but they gradually degenerate. Golding's moral message is about the "darkness of man's heart" and it's a good moral companion to Heart of Darkness now I come to think about it. The boys natural fears escalate and the younger children create a mythical 'beast', which then seems to materialise as a fact when the body of a dead airman, killed a war fought in the skies overhead, floats down to the island in a parachute. But the real beast is their own desire for control and domination, as well as an interesting bloodlust -- the word 'lust' is used of this, and the killing of the first pig is certainly described with unmistakable sexual resonance. One of the boys pushes a sharpened stick "up her ass". There are no girls in the group -- what a different novel it would have to have been if there were! -- but the pig they kill is a sow, and they interrupt her in suckling a brood of piglets. What a strange, strange thing to put into your novel. Not just the killing, but the slaughtering of a mother pig and a kind of sexual frenzy. Yuk! But hey -- he's intending to shock. He's intending to show that this blood lust thing isn't far away from human kind, or male human kind at least, and that it doesn't take much to call it out. Even Ralph, the Aryan protagonist, feels himself getting caught up in it. Paint your face, start whooping and chanting and you can do, it seems, almost anything. The kind, poetic, imaginative Simon gets butchered (teeth and nails at this point -- not spears). PIggy is despatched by Roger, the executioner. The whole of their little society is clearly turning into a Stalinist regime, with each boy taking his place, as prescribed by Golding, which is what you get to do when you write an allegory. It's a powerful read, though more repetitive, in linguistic terms, than I remembered - almost as repetitive as D H Lawrence in places. At the highpoint, towards the end, when Ralph is completely isolated and being hunted down, the word 'ululation' is done to death. But at least you can't read this book without learning what it means! What I both like and don't like about it is the way it makes me want to argue. The whole thing is completely manipulated. Is this what would happen? Would the darkness of man's heart take over? I have not much doubt that man's heart is dark, I guess, but when I got off the train I left my very lovely reddy-orangy furry scarf, and the chap who was sitting opposite me (I didn't speak to him during the journey) ran after me with it. It brightened my day. Perhaps he was a 'Simon' and would quickly get trampled if our civilisation were to decline. But look Golding, my lad -- that bit where you allow the man in the parachute to get dumped, dead, on the island, scaring the boys out of their wits -- if that hadn't happened -- your choice plot element -- well, the three boys Jack, Roger and Ralph, would have established Absence of Beast. It might all have turned out very differently. If Piggy hadn't been wearing glasses, there would have been no fire.... If it had started raining sooner.... If Ralph had been a bit more intelligent.... If the pigs had been a bit better at getting away.... On an island, living on fruit and getting scratched and cut, one or two of them would have developed fatal infections and their main enemy would probably have been illness and death, which would have drawn them together a bit. Even the biting insects would probably have driven them potty. One or two of them, it's my bet, would have descended into depression and just dwindled away. It wouldn't have been like The Coral Island, but it wouldn't have been the inevitable collapse of civilisation either. Steven King likes this book. It fits beautifully with his love of dramatic thriller, increasing isolation of central brave character, and underlying opposition between good and evil. Here evil wins, though. Ralph is about to be exterminated when the officer arrives, so the deus ex machina is just there as an ironic way to end the book. That bastard is even 'embarrassed' when Ralph bursts into tears. That's British stiff upper lippery for you. I don't believe, in the boys' behaviour. I don't believe that Jack, the killer (I nearly said Jack the Giant-Killer), is there just below the surface, although I do believe that wars bring out the worst in us. I don't believe that Roger -- just a little boy -- is the natural henchman, with a desire to execute his peers running just below his veneer of civilisation. But then perhaps I do. I've seen it, haven't I? Seen nasty young people doing nasty young things nastily. Conditioned into that, in their turn, by not very delightful adults, damaged adults. Oh bloody Golding -- go away! I put my money on man's intelligence. You gotta use your head to survive, whichever allegory you seem to be inhabiting. And sometimes you do survive and sometimes you don't, but the 'darkness of man's heart' is offset by the light, which always returns. The trouble is, the dark heart goes for power - doesn't it? And the desire for power and control over others can be wielded quickly and wrongly by just a few people. It's what's happening all over the world at this minute. And yet -- the majority are good-hearted souls, who will pick up your scarf on a train and return it to you. There are more good guys than bad ones. Some of them are quietly and happily reading books at this minute. Otherwise, what would be the point?

  19. 4 out of 5

    Glenn Sumi

    LORD OF THE REREADINGS A couple of months ago, I picked up To Kill A Mockingbird, a book I last read in high school. What fascinated me about the exercise was how much I remembered and how much I didn’t, what I appreciated as a child and what I do now. After that, I began wondering how I would respond to the other books I had to read and analyze as a youth. Hence my rereading of Lord Of The Flies. It’s equally powerful – shocking, even by today’s standards. And it’s all very efficiently done. Both LORD OF THE REREADINGS A couple of months ago, I picked up To Kill A Mockingbird, a book I last read in high school. What fascinated me about the exercise was how much I remembered and how much I didn’t, what I appreciated as a child and what I do now. After that, I began wondering how I would respond to the other books I had to read and analyze as a youth. Hence my rereading of Lord Of The Flies. It’s equally powerful – shocking, even by today’s standards. And it’s all very efficiently done. Both books are deserved classics. I don't regret a moment spent rereading either one. So… perhaps this will become a series. What’s next: Catcher In The Rye? A Separate Peace? Anyhow, on with the review... and keep in mind that if you weren't forced to read this back in school, THERE BE SPOILERS AHEAD (or A-HEAD - if you'll excuse the pun). What do I remember from my first reading? • The set-up, of course. After a plane crashes, a group of English boys finds themselves stranded on an island and, with no adults to guide them, form a kind of society that quickly breaks down, resulting in madness and murder. • The symbols, among them: the conch (for order and civilization, I suppose, since if one holds it one can speak in front of a group); the glasses (or “specs”), which help create fire and, since they belong to the nearsighted, brainy yet mercilessly bullied Piggy, might also represent intelligence; the idea of monsters. • I remember being entertained by the nickname Piggy – what a childish thing, but it is memorable and symbolic in its own way. What a smart move on author William Golding’s part to call him that. • The ending. I knew a couple of children died, and that eventually the rest were rescued. What don’t I remember from that reading? • I’d forgotten that many of the book’s “hunters” were (back in civilian life) members of a choir! • I’d totally forgotten about the young twins, Sam and Eric, whose names are blended by Golding into the very contemporary-sounding name Samneric. • I should have, but didn’t realize, the book took place during some unspecified war. What do I appreciate now? • The economy and compactness of the book. There’s very little fat in it (besides the fat dripping from the roasted boar). And though there are lots of vivid descriptions of clouds, forests and sun glinting on sand, nothing is gratuitous. • How beautifully Golding captures children’s behaviour, especially in groups. This was Golding’s first novel, and he knew boys so well. (Perhaps he was raising sons at the time.) • There are lots of characters with Anglo names that sound a lot alike (Ralph, Jack, Roger, Robert, Simon, Henry – something that instantly "dates" it, I suppose), but Golding gradually fills you in on them. It took a while for me to understand Roger’s sadistic nature, for instance. • The theme of bullying, which is as relevant as ever. Is this a fact of nature? Does every species find someone/thing among them to tease and ridicule? Piggy is overweight, unathletic, myopic and has asthma (and another thing I didn’t notice: his speech places him in a slightly lower class than everyone else), but he’s also very smart. He can see things that the charismatic, initial leader Ralph doesn’t, which is why they make a good pair. But the fact that everyone, from the oldest to the youngest, teases him, is very disturbing. • The hallucinatory scenes with Simon (often thought of as the book’s most intuitive character) and the “beast,” which gives the novel its title. I wasn’t prepared for the sheer nightmarish horror of these episodes. No wonder Stephen King was so influenced by this book (he borrowed the novel's “Castle Rock” and uses it regularly as a setting). • The political/social allegory at its centre. How do we make a society work? Is hunting (to feed us) more important than providing shelter or coming up with a way to be rescued? What happens when people don’t pull their weight? • All of this is done so very subtly. There’s a moment when “chief” Ralph is gradually losing his power, and Piggy suggests he blow the conch to form an assembly. And Ralph knows that if he blows the conch and no one comes, it will be irrevocable. Brilliant observation. • The idea of the “beast.” Is the idea of the “other” something intrinsic and primitive? Or do we create monsters as a mere projection of our own fears? • The little visual details, like Ralph pushing the hair out of his face. It’s both a naturalistic detail and one that points out how all the boys are becoming savage (funnily enough, Piggy’s hair doesn’t grow) • I had no idea how exciting the plot got in the last couple of chapters. Golding cranked up the tension to 11. Even though I knew how the book ended, I was still turning every page, heart thumping, hoping Ralph survived being pursued by Jack and his gang. The few things that didn’t work this time around: • The line “Ralph wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of man’s heart…” in the penultimate paragraph of the book seems way too on the nose. I can imagine a million students underlining that with a big "Aha!" • I forgot Piggy used the N-word. Really. It's there. *** I recalled a lot more of this book than Mockingbird. Once read, it has the power and heft of something that is so true and essential that it must have always been around. (I’ve felt this way about other literary works, like Shirley Jackson’s short story “The Lottery,” for instance.) But, and here's the weird thing, I think this book is better appreciated as an adult. Younger people are so caught up in the immediacy of every complication. I remember studiously talking about themes before I fully understood them from life. Adults, because we've lived through decades, can recognize the patterns of behaviour, the archetypal figures looming behind bullies and visionaries, both in private and public life, that emerge so strikingly in this book. Finally: why haven't I read more William Golding?

  20. 5 out of 5

    J.L. Sutton

    In William Golding's Lord of the Flies, the dark side of human nature goes unchecked. This leads to the devolution we see among the boys who are stranded on an uninhabited island. Whether or not you agree with Golding's central idea here, it is a well written and interesting novel. I'm not sure what my thoughts were at the time, but I remember having read the story sometime in junior high school. I'm perhaps a bit more cynical of this breakdown in society now (or perhaps not)! I saw parallels to In William Golding's Lord of the Flies, the dark side of human nature goes unchecked. This leads to the devolution we see among the boys who are stranded on an uninhabited island. Whether or not you agree with Golding's central idea here, it is a well written and interesting novel. I'm not sure what my thoughts were at the time, but I remember having read the story sometime in junior high school. I'm perhaps a bit more cynical of this breakdown in society now (or perhaps not)! I saw parallels to JG Ballard's work, but, even if it is simply a high-rise apartment, Ballard's take on society seems more complete. Golding's unrelenting attack on reason (and how easily it can be displaced) begins on the opening pages and continues until the boys are rescued. For me, that played not quite successfully against an engaging story. 3.25 stars

  21. 4 out of 5

    Fergus

    The year 1954 saw the first publication of Golding’s masterwork, the point of which had (independently) bifurcated my personality in that same year - in a series of ironic inner game-changing events... Piggy and his upper-class schoolmates are marooned on a remote wild island. But left without adults, they quickly descend, like some of our leaders, into draconian martial violence - the powerful and strong versus the poor and weak (shades of Animal Farm?). And I myself nearly became a Piggy. January The year 1954 saw the first publication of Golding’s masterwork, the point of which had (independently) bifurcated my personality in that same year - in a series of ironic inner game-changing events... Piggy and his upper-class schoolmates are marooned on a remote wild island. But left without adults, they quickly descend, like some of our leaders, into draconian martial violence - the powerful and strong versus the poor and weak (shades of Animal Farm?). And I myself nearly became a Piggy. January, 1954 saw the personal event that changed that transition forever. You see, for 66 years I have lived my life in a perpetual rerun of Bill Murray’s Groundhog Day. And my moral values - though, praise God, not my Political ones - are shared with those of that McCarthyist year, 1954. I’m a Photographic Time Warp copy, in fact. It all started on a crisp, clear January morning in 1954... My colicky and irascible brother had come into the world ten months earlier - like me, he would have preferred to stay Close to my Mom forever, bless him. That event upset my psychological Apple Cart, because I was no longer in sole possession of my parents’ love and attention. With the removal of those twin comforts, I became moody and withdrawn. And fell into entropy. Yes, the Absurd split my life in two with those events - through no fault of my wonderful brother - though he became my lifetime subconscious straw dog as a result. In Freudian terminology, to put it primitively, he was a Taboo facing off against my parents’ Totems, for me. All because of my parents’ shared affections! Kids can be so weird. But by January 1954 my parents had seen enough of my inner ethical turmoil. They wanted to shore up my confidence. They bought me a popular 45 rpm record, whose flip side contained a ‘fun’ song about a “Number One Son” who must be taught to not his “Troubles tell, for Life is to Enjoy.” Their unsparing love had been replaced by an Ideological Life Hack, that I took for my own, just as a drowning man will hang for dear life onto a Brass Ring on a ship’s hold. A four-year-old needs a foundation for his values in the absence of primary love. Yes, you guessed it: it was a substitute; an ideal false self. And that Brass Ring, which gave me a traumatically Impossible ideal to live up to in order to be a Number One Son in their eyes, was psychologically destructive... And its inner violent duality was at the heart of my psychological collapse in 1970. BUT - its mature, adult worldview was always ALL that stood against me - and the moral entropy and outright violence of a Piggy, towards whose personality I had been drifting: So WHAT if it turned me into a slightly funny lifetime Aspie? My utter MORAL collapse was averted. And for that, in my view, my parents and brother deserve ALL THE CREDIT.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Gothadh

    I absolutely hated this book. That's my over-riding memory of it I'm afraid. I had to read it in secondary school when I was about 12 and I never remember disliking a book so much which was surprising as I was a voracious reader. I just remember having absolutely nothing in common with the characters - a group of English upper / middle class school boys whereas I was a Scottish working class girl. I just could not relate to the story at all and just wished they would all kill each other as soon a I absolutely hated this book. That's my over-riding memory of it I'm afraid. I had to read it in secondary school when I was about 12 and I never remember disliking a book so much which was surprising as I was a voracious reader. I just remember having absolutely nothing in common with the characters - a group of English upper / middle class school boys whereas I was a Scottish working class girl. I just could not relate to the story at all and just wished they would all kill each other as soon as possible so the book would finish. The fact that we had to read the book in class at the pace of some of the slower readers (agonisingly painfully slow readers) and then discuss it afterwards, which was like trying to get blood out of a stone, probably didn't help. Never, ever again.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Vit Babenco

    Lord of the Flies is a parable of the human nature… His mind was crowded with memories; memories of the knowledge that had come to them when they closed in on the struggling pig, knowledge that they had outwitted a living thing, imposed their will upon it, taken away its life like a long satisfying drink. Ever since primordial times man is ruled by two opposite forces: a wish to create and a wish to destroy… And to destroy is much easier than to create… There was the brilliant world of hunting, tac Lord of the Flies is a parable of the human nature… His mind was crowded with memories; memories of the knowledge that had come to them when they closed in on the struggling pig, knowledge that they had outwitted a living thing, imposed their will upon it, taken away its life like a long satisfying drink. Ever since primordial times man is ruled by two opposite forces: a wish to create and a wish to destroy… And to destroy is much easier than to create… There was the brilliant world of hunting, tactics, fierce exhilaration, skill; and there was the world of longing and baffled commonsense. And since primordial times man is ruled by fear… And the greatest fear is the fear of the unknown… To make the unknown less cruel and dangerous man tries to placate it offering the unknown sacrifices and worshiping… “We’ll kill a pig and give a feast.” He paused and went on more slowly. “And about the beast. When we kill we’ll leave some of the kill for it. Then it won’t bother us, maybe.” Millenniums pass but the primordial instincts remain and they make man look for an enemy and fight.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ginger

    DAMN!! I think reading this book as an adult affects me more. You come to realize that things and circumstances can change drastically with no rules or repercussions. I really loved Lord of the Flies and think everyone should read this one day. It's not a long book but it will make an impression on you. It makes you think and dread what would happen if... “Maybe there is a beast… maybe it's only us.” The writing of William Golding was well done and detailed on the breakdown of humanity and sensibilit DAMN!! I think reading this book as an adult affects me more. You come to realize that things and circumstances can change drastically with no rules or repercussions. I really loved Lord of the Flies and think everyone should read this one day. It's not a long book but it will make an impression on you. It makes you think and dread what would happen if... “Maybe there is a beast… maybe it's only us.” The writing of William Golding was well done and detailed on the breakdown of humanity and sensibility. With no rules to govern, you can easily see how a group will follow the stronger and more manipulative leader. Let it be a lesson to us all to always have a sense of morality and know when as a society we've crossed the line. Recommended to everyone!!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Bea

    4.5 stars! I was considering giving this book 2 stars at about halfway through. I was bored. And more bored, and I just couldn’t understand why people liked this book so much. Then I read the second half and woah it took me by surprise. I had so many feelings reading this book; sadness, anger but also happiness and at many points yes, I was confused but it only made me want to read on to know more. I’m glad I read this as it’s on the ‘fifty books to read before you die’ challenge and also as I rea 4.5 stars! I was considering giving this book 2 stars at about halfway through. I was bored. And more bored, and I just couldn’t understand why people liked this book so much. Then I read the second half and woah it took me by surprise. I had so many feelings reading this book; sadness, anger but also happiness and at many points yes, I was confused but it only made me want to read on to know more. I’m glad I read this as it’s on the ‘fifty books to read before you die’ challenge and also as I really enjoyed the book overall even though the beginning was a bit difficult to trudge through. I highly recommend trying the classic out if you haven’t yet!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Natalie Vellacott

    This book shocked me. Not so much because of the content, I will come onto that, but because my gentle, kind, mother recommended it to me. My mum who mutes the TV when a swear word is coming up and who can't stand any type of violence recommended a book that involves children killing each other. Perhaps in her case familiarity has rendered the content less offensive--she studied it in high school and it had her childish scrawls all the way through, also entertaining! That said, there was a lot t This book shocked me. Not so much because of the content, I will come onto that, but because my gentle, kind, mother recommended it to me. My mum who mutes the TV when a swear word is coming up and who can't stand any type of violence recommended a book that involves children killing each other. Perhaps in her case familiarity has rendered the content less offensive--she studied it in high school and it had her childish scrawls all the way through, also entertaining! That said, there was a lot to this book. I can see why it has become a classic. I guess, I was just taken aback having started the story and expecting it to continue in a Peter Pan type "lost boys" style...when it took a violent turn in a "no going back" direction. A group of boys are abandoned on an uninhabited island. Ralph takes the lead and formulates a rescue plan. But it isn't long before the group are embroiled in internal conflict as they battle for supremacy and status. What is really needed is for them to band together and for everyone to do their part to keep the group alive and alert any ships that happen to be passing. But they cannot even get that right--those meant to be tending the fire are off hunting pigs when the first vessel draws near. The divisions widen over time as some of the children begin to adopt savage-like behaviour resulting in tragedy. It is not a Christian book but there are a great number of spiritual analogies and lessons worthy of comment. The book reminds us that children do not learn sin from their parents. They are born sinful and if not disciplined, given appropriate boundaries and taught right from wrong, they will choose sin as it is predetermined due to the fall--"born in sin and shapen in iniquity." The book also reminds us that man is not basically good or innocent but the opposite. There is also a lesson about the pack mentality. How much easier is it to fall into sin or temptation in a group than it is alone? When young people goad, dare and egg each other on they can be capable of great evil--peer pressure is a powerful force. We see it in the media when a group loses control and in a violent frenzy attacks a person in the street. But we will not ultimately stand before God in a group but by ourselves to account for our behaviour. It is why the Bible warns us about the company we keep and who we choose to be our friends. I was also reminded of the damage that can be done to children who spend too much time playing video computer games. They become lost in their own worlds of darkness where theft, violence and killing are normalised and those who murder are heroes not criminals. Lord of the Flies made me realise how easy it was for these children to begin playing a very dangerous game with life and death when they became immersed in their own world and had lost touch with reality. Maybe it will make some parents think about what their children are filling their minds with alone in their bedrooms. We shouldn't be surprised when the same children translate their video game world into a murderous rampage on our streets. That is what they have been taught to do! The last chapter of the book was for me the most impactive as the sequence of events was unexpected. The narrative is chilling in places but definitely held my interest and I wanted to know what happened to the children in the end. There are a few swear words in the book but nothing major. There is no sexual content. There is some graphic violence and animal slaughter. This book is not really suitable for younger children but may hold lessons for older teens. I would recommend the book for Christians for the spiritual lessons that can be learned but it is not particularly uplifting!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Joshua Nomen-Mutatio

    BOYS WILL BE BOYS THERE'S A PIG'S HEAD. BOYS WILL BE BOYS THERE'S A PIG'S HEAD.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Aj the Ravenous Reader

    I only know that Lord of the Flies is an extremely popular classic book but I have zero idea on what it’s about and I must say, this is completely unexpected and until now I’m not sure if that’s in a good way or bad. ^^ The premise is without a doubt ingenious- a group of kids castaway in an island? Sounds like a partaayy! Tom Hanks would have loved to jump in if only he weren’t an adult.^^ And party it was at the greater half of the book which mostly consisted of: 1. Purposeless assemblies 2. A I only know that Lord of the Flies is an extremely popular classic book but I have zero idea on what it’s about and I must say, this is completely unexpected and until now I’m not sure if that’s in a good way or bad. ^^ The premise is without a doubt ingenious- a group of kids castaway in an island? Sounds like a partaayy! Tom Hanks would have loved to jump in if only he weren’t an adult.^^ And party it was at the greater half of the book which mostly consisted of: 1. Purposeless assemblies 2. A lot of giggling 3. Pig chase re-enactments 4. Touch the conch game.^^ 5. Laughing fits mostly at the expense of Piggy. (Poor, Piggy) *sniffs* But the party suddenly turns into savagery (See this is why you can’t join in, Mr. Hanks) and eep! enter the gloomy themes and deeper darker messages of the novel that allegedly gave inspiration to the phenomenal dystopian trilogy that is the Hunger Games and undoubtedly several other dystopian novels that capitalize on brutality and murdering children. (Kidding.^^) For a proper, more eloquent, far more meaningful review that will tackle the themes, the writing and other important elements of the novel that I shamelessly neglected, do read my beautiful friend’s, (Ate) Sabah’s review. Also, it’s her birthday today! HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Ate Sabah! I hope you have a wonderful day with loads of love and surprises! I couldn't find a paperback copy of Jane Eyre. I hope this'll do. <3

  29. 4 out of 5

    Johann (jobis89)

    “What are we? Humans? Or animals? Or savages?” Lord of the Flies is now one of those books I WISH I had studied in school, I’d have loved to have delved deeper into the symbolic meanings and themes, instead of just having my basic reader experience! There’s probably so much I’m missing... it almost makes me want to read through the spark notes for the novel! It really provides a fascinating insight into how quickly chaos can ensue once civilisation ceases to exist. And it’s somehow even more terri “What are we? Humans? Or animals? Or savages?” Lord of the Flies is now one of those books I WISH I had studied in school, I’d have loved to have delved deeper into the symbolic meanings and themes, instead of just having my basic reader experience! There’s probably so much I’m missing... it almost makes me want to read through the spark notes for the novel! It really provides a fascinating insight into how quickly chaos can ensue once civilisation ceases to exist. And it’s somehow even more terrifying once you consider the fact that these are young boys. In a way it made me think of Under the Dome - it’s definitely possible that this was its inspiration given how much King loves this one! Speaking of King, I was MAJORLY geeking out at the stone formation being called Castle Rock - I quickly darted to google to confirm that yes, King named his town after the fictional mountain fort in Lord of the Flies. Somehow I didn’t know this - but it does make complete sense given the glowing introduction King has provided in this edition. Unfortunately I found the writing a little dry at times and I also got quite frustrated as well as it wasn’t always clear who was speaking? This is one of my major pet peeves in books - GIVE ME SOME INDICATION. A few of the characters felt interchangeable which didn’t help - even now I can only really distinguish Jack, Ralph and Piggy. But otherwise I really enjoyed this and some of the imagery will stay with me forever - particularly when it came to the beast and their “gift” for it! Really glad I finally read it! 4 stars.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jason Koivu

    I've got the conch now, so listen up! In Lord of the Flies Golding deconstructed civilization, wiping it out and showing us our world in chaos. It's not pretty. Man without governance is apt to slide into savagery. At first the castaway children on this deserted isle set up rules and leadership, but law and order is overwhelmed when the majority discover there is no immediate consequence if they give in to their wants and desires. In the place of civility, a brutal world is born in which might is I've got the conch now, so listen up! In Lord of the Flies Golding deconstructed civilization, wiping it out and showing us our world in chaos. It's not pretty. Man without governance is apt to slide into savagery. At first the castaway children on this deserted isle set up rules and leadership, but law and order is overwhelmed when the majority discover there is no immediate consequence if they give in to their wants and desires. In the place of civility, a brutal world is born in which might is right, the weak are stamped out, and the female voice all but silenced (Piggy's frequent references to his auntie). Golding pounded away at that theme, so much so as to rankle some readers who criticize the book's heavy-handed use of cardboard cut-out stereotypes to force the author's point across. I don't deny it, but in this instance I'm okay with it because I found the outcome, depressing and disheartening as it is, satisfying as a statement and, the whole, enjoyable as a fully contained tale. Surely the characters could've been invested with deeper background, which would have added greatly to the story in detail as well as pages. Both are unessential, for the intended purpose is served...Golding held the conch and Lord of the Flies is what he had to say.

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