Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Originally Published: 1954
Lord of the Flies by William Golding is a classic.
During the end of the war, a British plane goes down on a remote island in the Pacific Ocean, and the only survivors are a group of school-aged boys, roughly 6-12 years old. These boys are not even adolescent age yet, so although they enjoy their new freedom, things get quite serious, quite fast.
It starts with an overweight boy (who they quickly call “Piggy”), finding a conch, which he shows to Ralph, who then uses it to call all the survivors together. They end up electing Ralph as their “chief”, but Piggy is really the brains behind everything. They decide there should be rules, and the boys should all have different jobs to do, including starting and keeping a smoke signal going so that should a ship go by, they will be saved. Note that they use Piggy’s glasses to start the fire. In the meantime, there is a hunting party to be formed, as well as shelters to be built, and sanitation must be looked after, and someone has to look after the little kids. Sounds good, but let’s remember, they are boys…children. Soon, nothing is getting done.
A rift between Ralph and another boy, Jack, who also wants to be the leader, widens dramatically. And so begins the battle to govern the island. Jack organizes a hunting party and draws away the boys that Ralph had looking after the fire, which of course, goes out. Meanwhile, one of the boys was sure there was a “beast” on the island, and when a few see a dead parachutist swaying in a tree in the dark, they mistakenly assume this is the beast. Only a boy named Simon, a little more enlightened, seems to think there is no true beast, until he starts hallucinating, and sees the pigs head on the pole surrounded by flies. Things have been going downhill at a rapid pace, and soon the boys are split into tribes and attacking each other.
This book is scary. The idea that a group of boys, left in an uncivilized and unsupervised environment, can actually become savage enough to kill, is a scary premise.
This is a dark book. It is still a good book.
Favorite Quotes from Lord of the Flies:
“Maybe there is a beast… maybe it’s only us.”
“I think women are foolish to pretend they are equal to men, they are far superior and always have been.”
“They were black and iridescent green and without number; and in front of Simon, the Lord of the Flies hung on his stick and grinned.”