Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Lord of the Flies - William Golding

Lord of the Flies is of course about a group of English schoolboys that survive a plane crash and get stranded on an island. At its core the book is about the innocence of youth and its development when they are forced inadvertently to mimic certain cultures of human society just to survive, as they edge ever closer toward destruction. All the key players even though they are children show a stereotypical persona that can be compared easily within various societies throughout history.

 

You have a good intentioned leader who necessitates the need for a structured environment and is able to ask for advice but hasn't got the power or leadership skills to maintain control when adversity strikes. Ralph.

 

You have an isolated boy who has led a sheltered life, the modern day nerd who had medical problems that prevented him joining in with the other boys. In this day and age the perfect target for bullies. His situation kind of represents factions of mankind not being allowed involvement in the islands or looking deeply, the world's decision making processes highlighted by dependence on his glasses to see. Piggy.

 

You have the young man who was initially quiet but when war broke out became the epitome of violence and the chief enforcer to the tyrant. Roger.

 

Finally the reckless tyrant, charismatic but lacking foresight. The boys see his personality and bravado, and he becomes the most natural leader to follow. His superficial method of running the show is quick decision time followed by terror to enforce his way when decisions backfire. Hiding behind his war paint, his actions of setting the island on fire perfectly represent the dictator ruling with violence. Jack.

 

The competition for power and rule is commonplace through history and is something present all through the rise of mankind and civilisation in various forms. Leadership and rebellion, disagreement is a right, murder is not and the line between right and wrong fades very quickly. This story is used in comparison to various Asian countries and cultures through history but it's an easy message or moral to understand. Themes of savagery versus civilisation and fascism versus democracy, and the two sided coin of morality.

 

You could call Lord of the Flies a somewhat harsh blueprint to humanity and it’s a grim statement of human behaviour from the ground up. Its message will stand through history but whereas some stories are timeless, this didn't feel that way for me. The writing style feels as though it's from a long time ago, as of course it is, some classics are that powerful you feel as though they could have been written at any time. So this is a poignant message and it’s read for the morals that jump from the page but to be honest it wasn’t enjoyable and it shows its age.

 

I think my next school project type read will be either 1984 or A Clockwork Orange.