Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Review - Lord of the Flies by: William Golding

Title: Lord of the Flies
Author: William Golding
Publisher: Penguin Books
Pages: 182
Format: Paperback
Source: Personal purchase


William Golding's compelling story about a group of very ordinary small boys marooned on a coral island has become a modern classic. At first it seems as though it is all going to be great fun; but the fun before long becomes furious and life on the island turns into a nightmare of panic and death. As ordinary standards of behaviour collapse, the whole world the boys know collapses with them—the world of cricket and homework and adventure stories—and another world is revealed beneath, primitive and terrible. Lord of the Flies remains as provocative today as when it was first published in 1954, igniting passionate debate with its startling, brutal portrait of human nature. Though critically acclaimed, it was largely ignored upon its initial publication. Yet soon it became a cult favorite among both students and literary critics who compared it to J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye in its influence on modern thought and literature.

Labeled a parable, an allegory, a myth, a morality tale, a parody, a political treatise, even a vision of the apocalypse, Lord of the Flies has established itself as a true classic.

My Thoughts:

I’ve read this one way back in August, and there’s a reason why the review is coming now: when I read a book, I can sometimes say, “that was one good adventure” and move on with my life. But some books stay with me for quite a while if not forever, and I find myself thinking about them very often. William Golding’s Lord of the Flies is one of these books.

I’ve known this book for quite a while now as “one of the most celebrated and widely read of modern classics.” And then, the blurb on the back starts with “a plane crashes on a desert island and the only survivors, a group of schoolboys, assemble on the beach and wait to be rescued.” Being na├»ve as ever, I thought to myself, “Oh, a children’s version of LOST!” When I was done with book, of course, I realized that it was LOST that drew a lot from the book and not the other way round.

The book starts off kind of ridiculously because when the plane crashes, all that survive are children and male children only. While trying not to lose hope of being rescued, they form themselves some sort of order of living. They make rules. However, as the days pass, their egos come forward, they are slaves to the urge for power and, in the end, the monsters inside them can no longer stay there.

I must admit that in today’s world, this story isn’t different or exciting or even interesting, really. On the other hand, the excitement and shock factor hidden in the details grab the reader and make them think, analyze and question. When you read the book, you really understand why Lord of the Flies is among classics and why it’s still considered up-to-date today.

Gogol’s Dead Souls, it was a very, very slow read, but I was in awe of the characters he had created, mostly because we all know at least one of them in real life—I’m not a fan of stereotypes, but I do believe they exist around the world. The characters Golding created are this kind of characters as well. It’s sad, but when you read the book, you realize humans haven’t changed at all since then; there’s no improvement or anything. We’re still after being the one with the all the power, the most loved, the one whose decisions are put into action, the one who can make others do as he/she says…

In the Lord of the Flies, you’ll find the thin line between good and bad. In the characters and in their choices, in addition to seeing people you know in real life, you’ll also see parts of yourself, which will be rather creepy.

NOTE: As you know, Sawyer is famous for being the reader in the LOST crowd. Even though we don’t see him actually reading the Lord of the Flies, he mentions it: “Folks down on the beach might have been doctors and accountants a month ago, but it’s Lord of the Flies time, now.”
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