Lord of the Flies by William Golding
After a few weeks of reading modern titles I thought it was high time I return to the classics; and more specifically a 20th century classic.
Shockingly – and I hate to confess this – I had never read Lord of the Flies. Ironically I believe it to be one of those essential books to read as a teenager; a gentle bridge from children’s books into more complex and highbrow literature. Unfortunately I never made that step, during my teenager years I thought I was too cool for books – how wrong that turned out to be!
I always find it difficult to review a classic text such as this or Dickens or Hardy, after all who am I to critic a text read and loved by millions?!
For those who haven’t read Lord of the Flies (and I’m sure there’s not many of you) it tells the story of a group of school boys stranded on an island after their plane crashes. With the reign of a whole island without societal or parental guidance, the boys are at first in their element. They decide to be diplomatic and initially elect rational Ralph to be the leader but soon personalities clash and what follows is a crash course in survival against the fittest as the boys fight over rules and power.
Golding’s creation has spawned many similar plots. I couldn’t help thinking about Lost, which really is a carbon copy of Lord of the Flies – the smoke, a mysterious animal – need I say more! I also remember have to discuss the text’s concepts in A-Level philosophy – yep, it is best we don’t ask about that course!
If I had read the novel as a teenager its underlying messages probably would have gone over my head. In a way I’m glad I’ve read it now, so I can appreciate Golding’s masterpiece in all its glory. It was written in 1954 and is still fresh, modern and relevant. It’s a nove which has and will continue to transcend the generations.