I first read this novel some years ago in junior high, and it remains one of the few to which I continue to return and re-read. And each time it offers new meanings and insights. Part of its charm derives from the fact that it can be appreciated on so many different levels, however hackneyed it may be to suggest so. It can be read through and enjoyed as an adventure story, full of drama and suspense. But, of course, it is much, much more, and this is why it is such a wonderful piece of literature.
Lord of the Flies is best known, probably, for its symbolism, and as one critic has opined, it is a symbolism that works. Each element, each symbol, operates individually, independently, but also interlocks with everything else in the book--not simply the other symbols but also the characters, the setting, the theme--from which it draws its deepest meaning. The conch, the platform, Piggy's specs, the pig's head, the island itself--they all fit beautifully and memorably together, along with Golding's stunning descriptions of places, characters, and events, to create the picture of a society corrupted by flaws in its constitutive human beings. It richly deserves its reputation as a classic.
Golding's chilling commentary on human nature
Lord of the Flies is easily one of the greatest conceptual and philosophical masterpieces I have ever read. Golding brings the reader back to square one, following a group of rowdy children, stranded on an island without the supervision of an adult. In the beginning, the children do a good job of cooperating and maintaining a society of sorts. But slowly, the children lose their grasp on things such as cooperation, rationality and compassion, and revert to a pack of vicious hunters. The reader follows the protagonist Ralph, who acts as the voice of reason, in his struggle to keep the other children from losing sight of the life that they once lived. The ending is especially mind-blowing, and it forced me to reexamine my view of human nature; is our society any less barbaric at heart than a group of rogue children? Besides being a skillfully woven and beautifully written story, Golding's book is a tragic, enthralling commentary on our own essence; it casts the reader in a downward spiral into the deepest, darkest secrets of the human mind.
Humanity tooth and nail
If not for anything else, William Golding's LORD OF THE FLIES (1954) is remarkable for having come out at a time when Western society was being bombarded with visions of totalitarian nightmares. The Nazis were gone, but still in modern memory. Russia's totalitarian state was a constant threat. McCarthyism hovered over everyone's privacy, as did J. Edgar Hoover. And recent fiction, like Aldous Huxley's BRAVE NEW WORLD and, especially, George Orwell's 1984 presented world views where the human spirit is all but squelched by governments and technologies.
LORD OF THE FLIES, in its own way, says, "Hold on a second! Humans do need to be regulated. And they do need to protect themselves from each other." His tale is a warning: Humanity, without government, will degenerate into savagery and anarchy. And that is precisely what happens in this book. You know the plot, by now. But what has to be mentioned is that William Golding is a visionary who has the story-telling mastery to convey and do justice to that vision. LORD OF THE FLIES is a remarkable and powerful book, one that should be on everyone's bookshelf.
Web Reviews for Lord Of The Flies
According to a search performed on 2005-06-20 10:07:43, 1850 websites matched the query '"Lord Of The Flies" "book reviews"'. Following is the top 5 results returned
I love Lord of the Flies and books like that, so I liked the idea of making a film about a kid who wasn'ta conventional, cutesy kid that you empathize with ...
Hate Lord Of The Flies
According to a search performed on 2005-06-20 10:07:51, 20 websites matched the query '"I hate Lord Of The Flies"'. This result is 7 (or 25.93 percent) less than the opinions of Love Lord Of The Flies. Following is the top 5 results returned
(Hope you don't mind me taking your word, Skull) I HATE LORD OF THE FLIES!! :P It is pointless and psychotic. And I'm only on Ch. 3 - that's going to be ...
Popularity Rating for Lord Of The Flies
According to a search performed on 2005-06-20 10:07:54, 72300 websites matched the query '"Lord Of The Flies"'. This is the SERCount Popularity Rating for Lord Of The Flies, in other words, the number of results returned from the search engine (e.g. Google). Following is the top 5 results returned