‘Lord of the Flies’ by William Golding tells the story of a group of boys stranded on a remote island after a plane crash who attempt to organise themselves into some form of functioning civilised society while they wait to be rescued. Instead, they quickly descend into savagery with the novel posing key questions about the nature of leadership and rationality.
I’m quite glad I never had to study ‘Lord of the Flies’ at school as I reckon I would have hated it and probably wouldn’t have seen its relevance for today’s world.As a result of this book being on the GCSE syllabus, I can imagine that the generation who should be reading it are probably trying to avoid it instead. Maybe it is due to having read a lot of books since I was sixteen that I can better appreciate the subtlety with which the characters are drawn and the way in which Golding convincingly builds a sense of impending crisis. However, I didn’t find the book particularly chilling as other readers may have done. As well as the fact that I read ‘Lord of the Flies’ straight after finishing ‘A Clockwork Orange’ (which I found truly disturbing), I think this is because I was disappointed that the children were rescued by the Navy at the end. Whilst I was reading it, I had imagined that the story would be unresolved with the boys just left to descend into further chaos which I think would have been a more powerful message. Other than that, ‘Lord of the Flies’ remains to this day a powerful and strangely believable allegory about the struggle for power.