Author: William Golding
Published: some time in 1954
Length: 225 pages
Warnings: violence and death. If there was anything else, I missed it.
Other info: they made a film out of it…Golding also wrote The Inheritors, Darkness Visible and other things.
Summary : William Golding's classic tale about a group of English schoolboys who are plane-wrecked on a deserted island is just as chilling and relevant today as when it was first published in 1954. At first, the stranded boys cooperate, attempting to gather food, make shelters, and maintain signal fires. Overseeing their efforts are Ralph, "the boy with fair hair," and Piggy, Ralph's chubby, wisdom-dispensing sidekick whose thick spectacles come in handy for lighting fires. Although Ralph tries to impose order and delegate responsibility, there are many in their number who would rather swim, play, or hunt the island's wild pig population. Soon Ralph's rules are being ignored or challenged outright. His fiercest antagonist is Jack, the redheaded leader of the pig hunters, who manages to lure away many of the boys to join his band of painted savages. The situation deteriorates as the trappings of civilization continue to fall away, until Ralph discovers that instead of being hunters, he and Piggy have become the hunted: "He forgot his words, his hunger and thirst, and became fear; hopeless fear on flying feet." Golding's gripping novel explores the boundary between human reason and animal instinct, all on the brutal playing field of adolescent competition
Review: A plane crashes in the middle of a desert island, leaving a group of schoolboys as the survivors. They soon realise what they need to do to stay alive, and while they do that, they dream of a terrifying beast. Eventually they split into two tribes, one focused on signalling and trying to get rescued, and the other focused on hunting and making the most of the time on the island. It all starts going wrong when the hunting tribe starts to hunt more than just pig.
The plot was fairly confusing. I’ve summarised it above, but I’m sure someone else could give a much better and more detailed summary than me. Half of what was going on I didn’t see how it fit into the overall thing, and it was just boring.
The character introductions were terrible. I get the idea that Piggy is fat, Jack is blond and snobby, and Simon is a scrawny little thing with dark hair. The rest of the cast I simply had to fill in with a general boy, not knowing if this was how it was intended for them to be. Also I kept getting them all mixed up, and didn’t even try to remember the teams aside from as being “Ralph’s and Piggy’s ordered one” and “Jack/Chief’s insane one”.
The titular Lord of the Flies appears for about two pages and doesn’t really do much for the plot. I didn’t see the point of him, and just didn’t understand him at all. And if he is major enough to merit the book being named after him, how come he didn’t have much of a part?
Another way I didn’t understand this was the way that characters kept being referred to by different names, and what the purpose of them. I didn’t connect at all with any of the characters, and I found it hard aging them. I know it said that they’re around twelve, I think it was, but I can’t imagine twelve year old boys doing that. There wasn’t much character development throughout, and the circumstances of Simon’s major (un)development were confusing.
I didn’t like the writing style. It’s the same long winded style that you get in all the classics, but somehow, this felt slow and dreary and generally uninteresting. The description was detailed, but at some parts it was just a bit too much. For example, I couldn’t get a very good idea of how all the elements of the island fitted together. I just know there was a mountain and a cave and a beach and other elements, but I couldn’t draw a map of the island showing where everything is in relation to everything else.
It’s not completely hopeless. The characters personalities were well defined (I ended up referring to half the characters as “the guy who’s like xxxx”), and worked well with their roles in the story, and this was a good idea, and is the forefront of most survival books we see today.
Overall: I give this strength 1 tea because it was confusing, quite slow and generally not my thing.