Book Review: Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Lord of the Flies is a book authored by Nobel Prize-winner William Golding. It is one of the best novels written in the 20th century. The book focuses on a group of young British boys stranded on an abandoned island. They tried to govern themselves at first but became violent and brutal without any adult guidance.

The story begins in a war. A plane evacuating young boys crashed and landed on a deserted island. Two of the boys, Ralph and Piggy, found a conch shell. They blew the shell to gather everyone on the beach. After the meeting, the group selected Ralph as their chief. Ralph appointed a power-hungry teenager called Jack to lead the boys who will hunt for food.

The boys spent their days playing, building shelters, and gathering edible fruits. But the peacefulness didn’t last long. The boys turned to the darkness. They believe that a beast whom they call “beastie” was watching and waiting to kill them. Out of their fears, they killed a pig and offered its head to the beast. Jack decided to take advantage of the fears and turn against Ralph, he and his hunters formed a tribe and attacked Ralph’s supporters. Later in the story, Jack and his hunters hunted Ralph like an animal.

Lord of the Flies reveals the truth about human nature. Despite that humans appear to be kind and civilized, behind the screen lies evilness and cruelty. Golding shows that humans, especially children, must be ruled with authority in order to avoid violence. If they are ungoverned and undisciplined, they will turn to animal instinct.

-Christine J.

Lord of the Flies by William Golding is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free as an audiobook from Overdrive.

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

lordoftheflies_williamgoldingPre-reading impression:
Boys + island – adults = cannibalism

Post-reading impression:
British Boys + pig infested island – adults and their rules = wait … Was no one eaten?

I think this was one of the main disappointments. It’s a story about a bunch of little boys on an island. Is it too far-fetched thinking that cannibalism would eventually ensue?

The boys still go savage. That at least was consistent with my pre-reading assumptions. All the little boys are between the age of six and twelve. They start their adventure in an assembly. Their main chief, Ralph, calls them all together by blowing into a conch shell. One thing that always struck me odd is that no one ever knows exactly how many boys there were on the island. They have a whole bunch of assemblies where all the boys are present, but for whatever reason, no one bothers to count everyone during this time. Would it be so hard for Piggy, who is the only boy with brains and common sense on the island, to just turn his head and count the little kids and the big kids.

The characters themselves are pretty distinct. I ignored most of the little ones during the story because they didn’t do much except have nightmares. Simon and Piggy were my favorite characters, and Ralph can grow on you. He is a natural leader, and although he stuck Piggy with the unfortunate nickname, he knows how to take charge of a situation and manage the priorities on what must be done to survive.

Some phrases in the book became pretty common in the assemblies. No one liked listening to Piggy, because he was fat and wore glasses, so in order to get the boys to listen, Piggy would say, “I’ve got the conch.” In response, Ralph often replied, “Oh, shut up.” To which Jack demanded, “We need meat.” Where Ralph would say, “The fire is the most important thing.” Just the same argument over and over.

This is one of those classic books where everything is written for a reason. All the main characters represent a different part of society. It starts fairly organized but eventually gets more chaotic. There are strong archetypical symbols. I found myself thinking, rain is an archetype for rebirth. Thank you, freshman English class. But as fun as it is to just pick out symbols and match them with their corresponding meanings, the book just becomes so much deeper with these ideas in place.

So if you are looking for a classic book with all male characters between the ages of 6 to 12 on an island devoid of cannibalism, Lord of the Flies is the book for you.

-Nicole G., 12th grade

Lord of the Flies is available for check out from the Mission Viejo Public Library, Overdrive, and Axis360