Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Lord of the Flies‘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.

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17 Comments

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17 responses to “Lord of the Flies by William Golding

  1. Maybe this is one you should have read when you’re younger. Reading it in junior high or high school, surrounded by people you can easily see turning on you if you were stranded on an island, probably made it a lot more frightening!

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  2. I never had the chance to study this at school so I invested in a copy. I hope to read it soon so fingers crossed I won’t be disappointed!

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  3. I did it for GCSE alongside Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. It was a very good combination and I enjoyed it a lot, unlike a lot of the other material we had to cover. I should probably reread it, it’s been 10/11 years.

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  4. I had to read this book once in middle school and again in high school for class…Bleh! NOT a fan.

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  5. I enjoyed it too. Apparently a large section was cut from the beginning where Golding made reference to a nuclear war but it was a bit to rambling apparently and got axed. I had heard a bit about the end but expected it to be be different and stronger. Still a good book and review.

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  6. I read this book years ago and don’t remember it very well. I remember the film much better and it was very powerful. However, I don’t think I’d like it now. I feel it says more about children than about people in general.

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  7. William Golding ought to be even better recognised as a great literary figure than he already is. The Lord of the Flies is one of the books I wish I had written. It goes to the heart of human nature and the dilemmas found there, exploring the human state in microcosm. My other favourite is The Spire. I may have to read them both again now, time permitting. Much of my time is taken up attempting to write fantasy fiction to Golding’s literary standard and inevitably failing. i have just had my first book, ‘The First Warrior’ published on amazon and am proof-reading the sequel, ‘The Warrior’s Return’.

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  8. PS Antony Burgess is another favourite author. Who else could dream up a description like ‘red krovvie krovvie’ and what an effective way to make the point about alienated youth with a language and sub-culture of it’s own mindlessly rebelling against authority, which proves to be not much better than they are, just less feral, just as tribal. Semi-prophetic maybe?

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  9. Hugh Derry

    I may have to give this a try!

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  10. I agree with you. If I had to read this in school I would have hated it, but reading it 7+ years out of high school, I could truly appreciate it.

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  11. I really liked studying Lord of the Flies in school! It helped me see things I hadn’t previously seen (I think I’d read it beforehand). I was never frightened by Lord of the Flies – it made me more sad than scared. Being about 12 the first time I read it, I could certainly see the children in people around me – so he gets points for his characterization.

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  12. It’s an uncomfortable read, but it does bring to light how easy it is to let society be ruled by some of the darker aspects of human nature.

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  13. I think what happened to these children can happen to adults too when left to one’s own devices in such a secluded island. No restrictions whatsoever. I had a hard time finishing the book but it’s worth it.

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  14. This book has been on my TBR list for some time now. Never read it in High School and I also think it is better: I would have been too young to appreciate it as it should be.

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  15. I would disagree with you about the ending. The manner in which the boys snap back into the public school/military/societal norms of order is, to my way of thinking, a profound and necessary part of the thematic string of the novel.

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  16. I read this book just last year when I was a Sophomore in High School and I quite disliked the book at first, but after discussing it, I found a new importance and connection to it. I love your blog and book reviews, keep up the good work!

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