The third book that I read this year was Lord of the Flies by William Golding. I felt like this was the kind of book that I wanted to be able to say I had read and I am so glad that I did eventually pick it up.
The blurb reads:
A plane crashes on a desert island and the only survivors, a group of schoolboys, assemble on the beach and wait to be rescued. By day they inhabit a land of bright fantastic birds and dark blue seas, but at night their dreams are haunted by the image of a terrifying beast. As the boys’ delicate sense of order fades, so their childish dreams are transformed into something more primitive, and their behaviour starts to take on a murderous, savage significance.
First published in 1954, Lord of the Flies is one of the most celebrated and widely read of modern classics.
It took me a while to fully engage with this book. Its exposition is rather long but I would really encourage anyone who was struggling with the first half of the novel to stick with it.
The protagonist, Ralph, who was elected leader of the group, is in constant conflict with the rebellious Jack, who decides that he should be the leader instead. Ralph tries to uphold the values of the Britain they left behind while Jack favours barbary and violence instead.
The story itself is really harrowing. As well as being a horrifying narrative it is also an allegory for the recklessness and heartlessness of man in the face of disorder. I feel as though it makes sense that it was written just following the Second World War and right in the middle of the United Kingdom’s colonies fighting back against that regime.
As any of you who are interested in that area of history will know, there was a term called “Social Darwinism”, which was based on the assumption that the natives of Britain’s colonies were naturally less civilised and lacking in morality. I think that in this novel, Golding shows that it is not, in fact, your ethnicity that decides your behaviour. The boys in the book commit some horrendous atrocities and they are all well-educated, English children. This message is a very modern one; if that is what Golding’s aim was, he was very ahead of his time.
I found myself having some pretty trippy dreams when I read this book. The fact that the story is based around children makes the atrocities described even more alarming
The language of the book itself is pretty easy to digest. The only thing I struggled with was “Samneric”, the name used to describe twins, Sam and Eric. Once I figured out what “Samneric” referred to, I felt a bit stupid. Other than that, the book was very easy to read, aside from the haunting subject matter and one gratuitous appearance of the n-word.
To conclude, I would thoroughly recommend anyone thinking about reading Lord of the Flies to run to your local bookshop and grab a copy. After I finished the last page, it left me with a very profound feeling that I just couldn’t describe. This is simply an incredible book.
This year I have resolved to read 25 books before 2017. Stay tuned to read a review about my fourth book, Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham.