Saturday 16 July 2016

Reviewing the Classics #4 Lord of the Flies

                                                                                      Goodreads Summary:

Lord of the Flies is an allegorical novel by Nobel Prize-winning author William Golding. It discusses how culture fails, using as an example a group of British schoolboys stuck on a deserted island who try to govern themselves with disastrous results. Its stances on the controversial subjects of human nature & individual welfare versus the commonweal earned it position 70 on the American Library Association's list of the 100 most frequently challenged Books of 1990–2000. The novel was chosen by TIME as one of the 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to the present.

The title is said to be a reference to the Hebrew name Beelzebub ( "god of the fly", "host of the fly", lit. "Lord of Flies"), a name sometimes used as a synonym for Satan. 

 I somehow didn't have to read this book in school at any point, but the plot has always interested me, so I thought it would be perfect for this months classic! The book focuses on Ralph, a young boy who along with a number of other boys has found himself abandoned on a desert island after a plane crash. Ralph soon finds out that there are no adults on the island, and the boys must look after themselves.

I loved the idea of the book taking place during a nuclear war, as although the plot focuses on the boys stuck on the island, we know that there is not only a war raging between the boys, but also between the adults. I loved the little hints we got about the nuclear war, such as the dead man landing on the island attached to the parachute, and Ralph talking about his father.

Ralph was an interesting protagonist, and I loved that he realised it was necessary for them to have some sort of order, rather than letting the boys run wild. It was interesting to watch this order slowly break apart, and for Ralph himself to forget the importance of the smoke, as Piggy had to remind him what it was for several times. Although the book is quite short, the boys changed from educated school boys to savages in a very subtle and slow way, which isn't fully realised until they kill one of the boys. We see children as being cute and innocent, so it ends up being quite shocking when they start to act like savages.

Although there were big changes with all of the characters, I felt Jack's transformation to be the most shocking. It was interesting that he introduced himself as Merridew, which then changed to Jack, and then finally chief. It was also a huge change that he initially couldn't bring himself to kill a pig, but finally ended up hunting Ralph.

I loved that the true nature of the island seemed to change with the boys. Although the island is aesthetically pleasing, the heat becomes unbearable, resulting in the boys getting burnt. The trees bearing both fruit and flowers make the boys sick, and the island itself seems to become more violent with the scorching sun and raging storms. I felt that the island and the fear of the beast drove the boys into their actions, as I felt that they were only doing what they were doing out of fear of the beast and of Jack. Jack leads through fear, which becomes a lot more effective than Ralph's leadership. I loved the irony that the true beast was the boys themselves, as they became their own enemies.

I thought Piggy was an interesting character, as although he was the most sensible and adult like, he couldn't come to terms with the fact they had murdered one of the boys and was trying to make excuses, such as saying it was the boys fault for sneaking up on them. I loved how Ralph initially disliked Piggy, but came to realise he was his one true friend and ally.

I felt as if the ending of the book was a little too convenient, and made me wonder what would have happened if an adult hadn't have shown up. I felt as if the boys killing Ralph would have been a more shocking ending, and it made me wonder if the boys would have died in the fire, or if it would have eventually burnt itself out, leaving them with nothing. The book also makes you wonder what happened to the boys after they were rescued, as although they have escaped their own war, they have to go back into civilisation where there is still a nuclear war happening.

Overall I really enjoyed this book, and thought it was an important story that showed mans natural instinct to fight their own kind. It showed the importance of society and rules, and that if left to their own devices, humans would steal, fight and kill each other. It's clear why this book is considered a classic, as it is still very much relevant today. Police are constantly killing innocent people and getting away with it, which can easily be compared to the way Jack tried to lead the boys. I feel as if everyone should read this book at some point in their lives, as it shows a scary but important message about the nature of humanity.

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