Lord of the Flies

Faber & Faber (1997)

I remember being told by several people that I should read Lord of the Flies by William Goulding. Over the years I have felt guilty about not reading it, so last year I added it to my reading list.  Just as I started to read it, I had the pleasure of going to a dinner party. At least I thought it was going to a be pleasure. Until someone (who shall remain nameless) decides to reveal in mid-conversation what happens to a certain character in the book. I was approximately 96 pages in. Was I irritated by this? Of course. I was absolutely livid. As any book lover would be. I really wish people would ask, “Have you read this book?” before revealing details or spoilers. So, if you haven’t read Lord of the Flies I suggest you stop reading this post and read the book before  you read this. I really don’t want to spoil this book for you.

Lord of the Flies opens with a plane crash and a group of boys find themselves stranded on an island. It’s quite intriguing, as the first thing you think, “how are these young boys going to survive?”. There is quite the struggle for power between Ralph and Jack who both want to be Chief. Jack is pretty much that bully that everyone encounters at some point during their childhood. Ralph eventually evolves from being sort of dismissive towards Piggy into respecting him and valuing his opinion and seeing him more of a friend.  Which Ralph figures out after Piggy’s death. Yes he dies

Golding also explores instinct, animalistic ones, hunting  & killing for example.  Jack’s desire to kill and hunt borders on obsessive, particularly with the chanting.

Lord of the Flies is so influential that it’s managed to inspire a lot of individuals and quite a lot of references in today’s culture would suggest it is influential. Evidence of this can be found in TV shows such as LOST , the opening scene of the TV series is quite similar to the first chapter in Golding’s book.  Was JJ Abrams inspired by Golding’s work? Probably.

Even in other works of fiction such as James Dashner’s The Maze Runner series, you can find evidence of Dashner being inspired by Golding’s book. It’s obvious why an entire generations of people would be fascinated and invigorated by Golding’s work. After all, the idea of being stuck on an island has occurred to us all. Would we give into our animalistic instincts in order to survive?  Let’s hope we never have to find out because that’s actually quite scary thing to think about.

Did Golding develop on previous ideas from  Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe or Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island ?  After all these tales also explore similar concepts that Golding develops throughout his novel.

I did enjoy this book and I would definitely recommend this to anyone who hasn’t read it.


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