By Rhea Holleman
Lord of the flies. William Golding. London: Faber and Faber LTD, 1968. 223 pp.
Lord of the flies is written by Sir William Gerald Golding in 1968, and regarded a must-read by many. It’s an allegorical novel and represents ideas about human nature and society. A gripping story, brilliantly written, full of adventure, yet still hard to get through.
A group of boys survive a plane crash and is stranded on a deserted island. No adults, no rules, just fun and games. Ralph is chosen as a leader, he stands for democracy, reason and gentleness. Take a 180° turn, and there you find Jack, a hunter, a killer, who seems to have been restrained only by the rules of society. While chasing ‘monsters’ and hunting for meat, civilization starts to take a back seat. While keeping a bonfire going, so as to attract bypassing ships, the situation slowly descends into chaos; with disastrous consequences.
Lord of the flies is a story about what happens when society falls apart and animal instincts take over. It is beautifully written; the conversations between the boys especially are very lifelike, childlike, and suitable to their age. The group of boys is wonderfully diverse, it includes leaders and followers, cruel and reasonable characters, even an easy bullying target called ‘Piggy’. All these different characters and their matching behaviour have been developed to such a degree that the reader can feel sympathy for all, even Jack. The boys immediately plunge into one adventure after the next, hunting pigs and chasing monsters, but the story is not exciting; it doesn’t keep me hanging at the edge of my seat. Maybe it’s the absence of a proper description of the area that makes the adventures of the boys hard to imagine. In any case, it isn’t one of those gripping books you only put down once you have finished it.
Do not read this book if you are looking for excitement and suspense. Read this book for the ideas behind it, and think about what the characters represent.