Lord of the Flies

by William Golding

Paper Book, 2003




Penguin Books (2003), Edition: Reissue, 224 pages


The classic study of human nature which depicts the degeneration of a group of schoolboys marooned on a desert island.

Original publication date




0399501487 / 9780399501487


½ (13810 ratings; 3.7)

Media reviews

35 livres cultes à lire au moins une fois dans sa vie
Quels sont les romans qu'il faut avoir lu absolument ? Un livre culte qui transcende, fait réfléchir, frissonner, rire ou pleurer… La littérature est indéniablement créatrice d’émotions. Si vous êtes adeptes des classiques, ces
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titres devraient vous plaire.
De temps en temps, il n'y a vraiment rien de mieux que de se poser devant un bon bouquin, et d'oublier un instant le monde réel. Mais si vous êtes une grosse lectrice ou un gros lecteur, et que vous avez épuisé le stock de votre bibliothèque personnelle, laissez-vous tenter par ces quelques classiques de la littérature.
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2 more
There is no blinking the fact that this English schoolmaster turned novelist understands growing boys to the heart; one must go back to"High Wind in Jamaica" to find a comparable tour de force. The uneasy conviction persists that he despises the child who is father to the man-and the man as well.
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Homo sapiens needs all the friends he can find these days, in and out of novels.
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"Lord of the Flies" is an allegory on human society today, the novel's primary implication being that what we have come to call civilization is, at best, skin deep. With undertones of "1984" and "High Wind in Jamaica," this brilliant work is a frightening parody on man's return (in a few weeks) to
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that state of darkness from which it took him thousands of years to return. Fully to succeed, a fantasy must approach very close to reality. "Lord of the Flies" does. It must also be superbly written. It is.
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User reviews

LibraryThing member bragan
Unlike large numbers of schoolchildren, I was never forced to read this book for class. But it's impossible not to know the story anyway, as it shows up in zillions of pop culture references, zillions of homages and parodies and works-inspired-by. Whether you've read it or not, you know what it's
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about, right? British schoolboys, stranded on a deserted island with no adults, slowly turn into murderous little barbarians, more or less. I always like to go back and visit the source material for these stories everybody knows, though. Often I get some interesting surprises.

So, I did finally get around to reading this, and I I'm honestly not sure what to make of it. I have to say, I didn't always get along with the writing style, for reasons I can't entirely put my finger on. The fact that I often had trouble telling which character was speaking is probably part of it, but I don't think it's just that. I don't know... Sometimes it was oddly compelling, and sometimes it was mildly annoying, and I have no explanation for either response.

It is a powerfully symbolic book. The author has something very definite to say about human nature and the fragile veneer that is civilization. Just about everything plays into that, directly or metaphorically, and there's some pretty effective imagery behind it. On the other hand, I can't help but think that it's all a bit too symbolic. I mean, there are places where it's practically jumping up and down shouting, "Look at my symbolism! Look at it! Do you get the idea yet?" And while everything the kids do in the story is plausible enough, if you're in a cynical mood, they seldom felt to me quite like real, living, breathing kids. I always felt a certain emotional distance from them, which is too bad. I can't help but think that the more real and visceral the events in this book might have felt, the more effectively disturbing they would have been.

I also don't fully agree with the novel's view of human nature. Yes, there's a lot of ugliness in human beings, and yes, I can imagine something like this happening, but thematically, it just all seems a little too simplistic. It's also pretty clearly informed by certain colonialist ideas about the nature of "civilization" and "savagery" that are problematic. "Savage" here means both "violent, selfish, irrational and amoral" and "one of those people who paint their faces, go half-naked, do tribal dances and chants, and have beliefs that look to us like superstition." The truth is, of course, that people in tribal societies are as capable of being as prosocial as anybody, and this particular notion of savagery, which William Golding's own culture liked to congratulate itself on having long since overcome, is largely a myth, anyway. And the more I think about that, the less the whole thing works for me, however eloquently it might strive to make its point.

So. Whatever I was hoping for from this book, I don't think I quite got it. But I am glad to have finally read it, and it certainly did get me thinking a bit.
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LibraryThing member writestuff
Some were naked and carrying their clothes; others half-naked, or more or less dressed, in school uniforms, grey, blue, fawn, jacketed, or jerseyed. There were badges, mottoes even, stripes of color in stockings and pullovers. Their heads clustered above the trunks in the green shade; heads brown,
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fair, black, chestnut, sandy, mouse-colored, heads muttering, whispering, heads full of eyes that watched Ralph and speculated. Something was being done.– from Lord of the Flies, page 13 -

A plane crashes on a deserted island, leaving in its wake children – the only survivors. These children are British school boys, civilized kids with manners and well-versed in respect for authority. There are very small children – the “littluns” who don’t seem to understand the enormity of what has happened. And there are older kids, boys who quickly recognize the need for a leader, a chief of sorts. A new society is forming, and before long survival demands a return to one’s baser instincts.

Lord of the Flies is a classic. Penned in 1954 by Nobel Laureate William Golding, it is a novel which asks deep moral questions and examines what happens when the civilized world is stripped away and individuals are left to create their own society.

Two main characters emerge early on. Ralph is a sandy-haired boy who is quickly chosen to be the “chief” and who focuses on building shelter and maintaining a fire to attract rescue. He holds “assemblies,” where participants are called to participate with a blow from a conch and are designed to maintain order. Jack is a charismatic boy, the leader of a choir of boys, who quickly establishes himself as the hunter, tracking down the wild pigs on the island with a sharpened stick as a spear. Before long, Jack and Ralph are in a competition for leadership with Ralph being the voice of reason, and Jack appealing to the more savage aspects of the boys’ personalities.

Another character, Piggy, emerges as the philosopher and the scapegoat. Piggy is obese, bespectacled, afflicted with asthma, and a bit of a know-it-all. Despite his wisdom (or maybe because of it), he is bullied.

There had grown up tacitly among the biguns the opinion that Piggy was an outsider, not only by accent, which did not matter, but by fat, and ass-mar, and specs, and a certain disinclination for manual labor. – from Lord of the Flies, page 60 -

There is also a fourth character, Simon, who plays an important role in the novel. Simon is a loner, but he is also reasonable and practical and gifted with an insight which the others lack. When talk of a beast begins, it is Simon who refuses to acknowledge a physical beast and instead recognizes that the beast is the fear within them.

These four characters – Jack, Ralph, Simon and Piggy – take center stage in a novel about the disintegration of morals and the descent into savagery.

I first read this novel in high school…and my memory of it is inexact. Of course, I remembered Piggy for his victimization, but in terms of theme, my memory was lacking. During this re-read, the story returned to me and I found it so much more compelling from my adult point of view. Classic literature is defined as something which stands the test of time…and there is no doubt that The Lord of the Flies meets that definition with its memorable characters, shocking twists of plot and ruminations on what it means to be human. Written in the 1950s, it could easily have been penned today.

Lord of the Flies is a novel which will generate great discussion in book groups and in the classroom. It is not an “enjoyable” read, and yet it is an engaging one. There is a good deal of violence in this slim book and I found myself anxious as the plot unfurls and it becomes obvious that things are going very, very wrong.

This is a classic, dysptopian-type novel about good vs. evil, but it also forces the reader to look within and to examine his or her role as part of a larger society.

Highly recommended.
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LibraryThing member Michael_Godfrey
What do you do with a book that's a cultural icon. I mean I first read it 40+ years ago - I think it was on the English syllabus the year we kiwi students sat our first public examinations. Maybe it was a different year. I wasn't overly impressed. Golding's tale reminded me too much of life at my
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boarding school. Though I don't think anyone was ever killed. On the other hand no British Officer rescued us, either. Only time and arguably clandestine alcohol did that.

But dammit that's it, isn't it. Golding's first novel became iconic because he encapsulated the human condition. He was I believe no theologian, but he narrated an Augustinian gloom of the world: humanity is depraved and is so from the moment we step out of the womb or a crashed aircraft or whatever. Piggy will always be killed. Oh. Sorry. Was that a spoiler?

Except Golding didn't depict that at all. He tried to. That humanity has a volition to hyenaesque behaviour has been well expressed by a myriad artists in the entire darkened kaleidoscope of available media. Some even incorporated females into their narratives. Ooops - did Golding forget them in his pastiche?

Wooden stereotypical characters doth not a fable make. When Golding later scored a Nobel it certainly was not for Lord of the Flies. Wooden characters do predictable things, behaving like a bunch of silly twitty English Public Schoolboys until such time as they end up behaving like silly twitty English Public Schoolboys without any meandering super-ego to check their id-iotic impulses. See what I did there?

The characters are devoid of personality. Piggy is a walking cliche. Jack and Ralph are dueling cliches. Simon seems reasonably unimportant, pops up a couple of times doing unimportant things, then doesn't. Samneric prove that Golding doesn't know enough about twins. War paint serves as a symbolic outer skin so weak as a vehicle of meaning that the boys might as well have worn trench-coats proclaiming (in Latin, of course) we are walking advertisements of the thin veneer of human decency.

Basically, it's all terribly spiffing until it's not. There. I've spoiled it for you. My assessment of the book in the mid-'70s hasn't changed. Life's too short and then sh*t happens.
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LibraryThing member HollyinNNV
Ok-I have a big issue with books that use humans as the main characters when the humans do not resemble any humans I have ever met. When a character is too one dimensional, I begin to feel that the author’s message was not very authentic if a realistic person could not deliver the moral. I felt
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like all of the LofF characters were terribly one dimensional. Piggy is whiney. Jack is homicidal. Simon is crazy. Ralph is a poor leader. And it stands to reason that if the characters are one dimensional, then it will be hard to invest any feeling for them. This was the case. I just really did not care what happened to them in the end. Maybe this story would have been better with dogs or ponies rather than boys.
I have a few more problems with the story. There is a plane crash and a homicidal child maniac just happens to be on board? Only children live and no adults? None of the children are injured in the crash? The children dress in rags because there was no luggage in the crash? Suffice it to say, there are many instances in which the reader must suspend disbelief in order to take much away from the story.
If this book proves anything, it is that some books don’t improve as a person ages. I did not like it in high school. I still do not like it as an adult.
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LibraryThing member sjmccreary
Like every other literate English-speaking person, I've heard of this book but had never read it before now. It is the story of a group of British school boys stranded on a tropical Pacific island following a plane crash. There are no adults, and the island is uninhabited. The story describes how
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the boys begin to organize themselves and provide for their needs. The story progresses as natural leaders emerge, disagreements over priorities arise, factions develop in the group. The young boys have developed only a thin veneer of civilization, and it wears away quickly in the harsh situation.

I had an audio version of the book, read by the author. (The recording was copyrighted 1977 - Golding died in 1993.) He introduced the book by explaining why he wrote the story about a group of boys, and not girls or a mixed group. After the story, he talked about how different - and contradictory - interpretations have arisen about what the book means. He said the story is about the importance of rules in society. I found the book to be, at turns, fascinating and disturbing, but always totally believable. He shows the whole spectrum of personalities - the thinker, the follower, the hunter, the leader. He also demonstrates how each one has the ability to move a group towards a goal, or hold it back, depending on the group, the goal, and the relative strength of the other people involved. I found it to be a remarkable distillation of the way that modern society operates on a global level. I think this will be one of those extraordinary books that are unforgettable, and I hope to read it again in the future. I highly recommend it.
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LibraryThing member 5hrdrive
Lord of the Flies is the perfect metaphor for the 2016 Presidential Election. You've got your overweight person who gets mocked non-stop "Piggy, Piggy, Piggy!", your unpopular parliamentarian trying to govern, and your alpha-male nut job who thinks he can get away with whatever the hell he wants.
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Maybe this would have read differently in any other year, but not in 2016. The election is tomorrow - I hope we all come to our senses and start acting like adults.
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LibraryThing member theokester
Lord of the Flies is another one of those classic English novels that I somehow made it through school without ever reading. It was often referenced in other book discussions in classes and I had a very general feel for the overarching plot of the book, but I'd never actually read it. So, I finally
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For those who somehow haven't heard of the book or know anything about the story, it basically involves a bunch of British schoolboys (probably aged 6 or 7 through early/mid-teens). During wartime evacuation, the kids all crash land on a deserted island and are the lone survivors (no adults). Timeframes are somewhat ambiguous but over time, one of the kids, Ralph, becomes a "chief" of the group and comes up with plans for survival (shelters, food, etc) and escape (keeping a signal fire going with green wood/leaves nearby to send up a flurry of smoke). As time goes on, order is pulled apart either from youthful desire for fun over work or from coercion from Jack Merridew and his group of boys, "the choir."

The general plot of the story is interesting and reminded me a little bit of Robinson Crusoe and his desire to bring civilization and order to his little island. This book had more psychological themes going on though since there were many people on the island and they were all either very young kids or young teenagers pushing into self-consciousness and evaluation.

The book provides interesting insight into the thoughts and desires of kids as they work towards adulthood. These kids are generally younger than what one might consider a "young adult" but they're forced into a very adult situation. We get to see a number of different reactions. These range from the strong desire to maintain order and civility by creating and enforcing rules based on ideas from the adult world to the youthful desire for fun unbridled now that there are no adults to stifle entertainment to the completely savage nature of play as the kids revert back to their savage natural state in the wild.

Most of the people who saw me reading this book were quick to let me know how much they disliked it. I can see the reasons for distaste. The themes are harsh and uncomfortable. The end result of the story, even though it has a "happy ending", are does not provide a happy, enthusiastic view towards humanity.

A lot of the writing style was very descriptive and evocative and just plain lovely to read. A lot of the theme and tone of the book was very unsettling and hard to read. This juxtaposition left me feeling mixed about the book. While I may not like the story or what it proposes to say about humanity, I can certainly appreciate the message it's trying to convey and the way it does it.

There's a lot going on in this book and I certainly don't feel like I've unpacked it all. At the same time, I'm not particularly eager to go back and read it again to try and unpack more. I saw some definite commentary on humanity, on "civilization", on war, on psychology, religion, etc. I can see why it's taught in schools and see how it could provide intense discussions.

However, I worry that some of the themes and concepts may be lost on too young a reader. And it may not even be an "age" thing as is shown by some of the events in the story. Just like some of the kids in the story were not ready for what they were forced to undertake, I would worry that if a child is too young or emotionally/intellectually immature, they may not recognize the message and allegory in the story and will either leave thinking it's just a fun adventure and (who knows) will strive to go out hunting boars themselves, or they could come away emotionally troubled without a good outlet to deal with it.

I'm glad I read this. Not one of my favorites, but very thought provoking. I have no intention to hand it to my 11 year old to read (even though he's begged me to let him) but I'll gladly discuss it with him if/when it's assigned to him in High School.

3.5 out of 5 stars
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LibraryThing member varwenea
“Hide, Break the Line, or Climb a Tree” – What would you do to escape the savages?

From boys (biguns and littluns) to savages with no names (‘This was not Bill. This was a savage whose image refused to blend with the ancient picture of a boy in shorts and shirt. ’) and finally back to
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little boys (simply all of them), Lord of the Flies explores this transformation where priorities shifted from being rescued to being dominant – represented by hunting, both for food and for complete control of the island. What happened? A sense of survival? A need to outshine others? Pride? Uncontrollable raw instincts? (Including sexual)

In this short book, Golding tells the story of a group of shipwrecked boys, their initial organizational structure, their descent into something completely different, and their ultimate rescue, minus at least 3… Of course, nothing can be simple in this symbolic and visually descriptive book. It’s difficult to escape the images of an oasis – beaches, trees, conveniently with fruit trees, coconuts to use as holders, fresh water, a reachable high point to have a fire, piglets for meat. The decline to savagery took a rapid turn upon the vicious hunt and kill of the sow – the representation of mother and mother-nature – plus an added gruesomeness via an implied sexual element.

“Here, struck down by the heat, the sow fell and the hunters hurled themselves at her. This dreadful eruption from an unknown world made her frantic; she squealed and bucked and the air was full of sweat and noise and blood and terror. Roger ran round the heap, prodding with his spear whenever pigflesh appeared. Jack was on top of the sow, stabbing downward with his knife. Roger found a lodgment for his point and began to push till he was leaning with his whole weight. The spear moved forward inch by inch and the terrified squealing became a high-pitched scream. Then Jack found the throat and the hot blood spouted over his hands. The sow collapsed under them and they were heavy and fulfilled upon her…… Roger began to withdraw his spear and the boys noticed it for the first time… ‘Right up her ass!’”

Golding’s word choices and phrases are simple yet powerful. Exhausted boys are “The boys laid, panting like dogs.” And after the night of savage dance that took Simon’s life: “Memory of the dance that none of them had attended shook all four boys convulsively.”

What in our human nature manages/controls our savage senses? Our ethical nature, not government or society, at least according to the epilogue note from E. L. Epstein.

The finale:

On relief and on the pain of memory – once the burden is removed, upon the appearance of the naval officer:
“Ralph looked at him dumbly. For a moment he had a fleeting picture of the glamour that had once invested the beaches. But the island was scorched up like dead wood – Simon was dead – and Jack had…. The tears began to flow and sobs shook him. He gave himself up to them now for the first time on the island; great, shuddering spasms of grief that seemed to wrench his whole body. His voice rose under the black smoke before the burning wreckage of the island; and infected by that emotion, the other little boys began to shake and sob too. And in the middle of them, with filthy body, matted hair, and unwiped nose, Ralph wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of man’s heart, and the fall through the air of the true, wise friend called Piggy.”

~ BUT ~ who is to save the adults from our savagery – as we go to war (reference the rescuer being a naval officer) or have other acts of violence? I think that’s the ultimate unanswered question from Golding.
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LibraryThing member HankIII
A disclaimer: it wasn't my idea to read this book; a colleague selected this book as part of our students' summer reading program.If there was a time in my life that I liked this book, it must have been in the wee hormonal epoch of my early youth. Frankly, I didn't like it. I found myself not
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having any empathy for the characters; I found the prose rather tedious, and the plot obviously contrived, and it seemed that Golding made a particular, but obvious effort to attempt to tie everything in with symbolic value. It was a book that I begged for immediate merciful closure.A good point: I will not teach this novel during our normal school sessions, and in that aspect, I thought it was a illuminating read.
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LibraryThing member the.ken.petersen
When I were a lad, my school believed that literature ceased to be produced after 1899: as this book tends to be a school reader, I have missed out on Golding until now.

This is an excellent book which appears to be a simple story but actually looks at the human condition and Britishness in
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particular. The tale purports to be that of a group of English boys being repatriated from the far east during the Second World War. Their plane crashes onto a desert island but the pilot is killed. The boys set up a community and try to delegate jobs. The system quickly collapses and the boys split into two rival gangs. Children are murdered and man's inhumanity to man soon comes to the fore.

The ending, when a fire is spotted by a passing Royal Navy ship is priceless. The officer who comes on to the island to investigate is saddened by what has happened and comes up with the immortal line, "I should have thought a pack of British boys ... would have been able to put up a better show."
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LibraryThing member prof_brazen_guff
A genuine classic of timeless quality. Golding uses a group of boys represent the mores and motivations of the society they have left behind. Each reading of the novel provides a new insight. Highly recommended.
LibraryThing member elliepotten
I've had this on my bookshelves since I was a young teen, so it was about time I read it really. Unfortunately for such a highly anticipated read, I wasn't as blown away by it as I'd hoped. I wanted a kind of Coral Island-esque adventure that gradually descended into savagery and violence; what I
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GOT was a disappointingly jerky, uneven allegory that glossed over the survival element almost entirely, skipped forward in time in unspecified bounds, and grew quite repetitive at times. As a result, some of the most important and moving scenes didn't have that much impact at all, and the hunters' savagery was less "diminishing sense of civilisation" and more "well, that escalated quickly". It took me a surprisingly long time to read such a short novel - well over two weeks - and sadly the cover remains my favourite thing about it!
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LibraryThing member endersreads
Somewhere deep within the chaotic realm of middle school, I remember having first read "Lord of the Flies". It is an apt microcosmic account of the polarization that would take place should society suddenly find itself without law and given over to anarchy. There would be 3 main categories of
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people: The Ralphs; struggling to provide law and order where there is little hope for it, the Piggies; who would be crushed and overtaken by the strong without the protection of law and order, and the Jacks of the world; who would immediately come into power. Indeed the Jacks of the world are always in power. They are the ruthless, the savage, the borne dictators. Ralph's government was a Republic. Jack's government was a militaristic ruthless and base empire with little to no regard for the individual, with the exception of the individual at the head. There is another type of individual we find in the story who I most relate to--that being the non-participant who stares of into strange other-worlds. The Simons of the world.
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LibraryThing member dste
I hated this book. I couldn't find myself identifying with or even liking any of the characters. The descent into barbarianism was horrific, and I couldn't find a single thing to enjoy in the entire thing. I have no doubt that others might enjoy it greatly, but it just isn't my kind of book.
LibraryThing member Cheryl_in_CC_NV
Narrated by the author, with brief but illuminating fore- & afterword. Although he's not an actor, nor in perfect control of his voice, I do think he was the best man for the job as he knew exactly how he wanted it to scan. For example, he didn't differentiate different characters' voices. But he
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did read the exciting bits a little faster than the thoughtful bits.

As far as the story goes - well, it's become such an iconographic & ingrained part of our culture that it's not really all that shocking or bewildering anymore. Otoh, if you've somehow not already become familiar with the themes, it's a must read.

And there were details I got out of it this time around that I hadn't before, for example Simon's sub-plot. And I was intrigued by the interesting r'ship that Ralph and Jack had that made the later horrifying developments seem unlikely - but then I actually spent time with the story and thought about how these boys represented a possible microcosm of society, and realized that the climax was not unlikely but actually inevitable.
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LibraryThing member calvetti
As teenagers, we are always wanting our parents to leave us alone. We are begging for the opportunity to take control of our own lives. Because, as any teenager will tell you, we already know all that we need to know.

"Lord of the Flies" gives teenagers that very experience. A group of boys are
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stranded on a deserted tropical island somewhere in the Pacific Ocean and all of their chaperones have died due to a horrible boating accident.

While on the island, the boys soon realize that they are going to have to provide for themselves, defend themselves, and create some sort of government in order to establish some order amongst the group. It is at this point that they realize that life isn't as easy as they once thought it might be - and the reader gets this realization as well.

Golding does a great job in establishing enough fear in teenagers that they may actually believe that there is still more to learn and that parents and teachers are actually out there to help them.
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LibraryThing member arelenriel
Scary picture of what happens to a group of children left to their own devices after a tragedy deprives them of adult supervison.
LibraryThing member Daniel.Estes
I read Lord of the Flies for the first time in my 10th grade English class, and I remember liking it more than the usual assigned tedium, but I also remember the drowsy discussions on symbolism and theme that threatened to zap the life from Golding's novel.

This time around, I read it for fun.
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Ralph, Piggy, Jack and all the others are so awkwardly mid-20th century British that you can't help but want to be friends with them. Once the story gets going though, and the boys de-evolve into something timelessly primal, nearly everything all the way to the final moment is perfectly executed. The pacing, the character development, and that right amount of horrific violence that still causes me to shudder when I recall it—all of it is inspired.
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LibraryThing member heidilove
i loved this book. i'm glad i read it before it was required though, as the teacher i had at the time didn't just investigate this novel, she flat killed it.
LibraryThing member sparkleandchico
This book shocked me. Not so much because of the content, I will come onto that, but because my gentle, kind, mother recommended it to me. My mum who mutes the TV when a swear word is coming up and who can't stand any type of violence recommended a book that involves children killing each other.
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Perhaps in her case familiarity has rendered the content less offensive--she studied it in high school and it had her childish scrawls all the way through, also entertaining! That said, there was a lot to this book. I can see why it has become a classic. I guess, I was just taken aback having started the story and expecting it to continue in a Peter Pan type "lost boys" style...when it took a violent turn in a "no going back" direction.

A group of boys are abandoned on an uninhabited island. Ralph takes the lead and formulates a rescue plan. But it isn't long before the group are embroiled in internal conflict as they battle for supremacy and status. What is really needed is for them to band together and for everyone to do their part to keep the group alive and alert any ships that happen to be passing. But they cannot even get that right--those meant to be tending the fire are off hunting pigs when the first vessel draws near. The divisions widen over time as some of the children begin to adopt savage-like behaviour resulting in tragedy.

It is not a Christian book but there are a great number of spiritual analogies and lessons worthy of comment. The book reminds us that children do not learn sin from their parents. They are born sinful and if not disciplined, given appropriate boundaries and taught right from wrong, they will choose sin as it is predetermined due to the fall--"born in sin and shapen in iniquity." The book also reminds us that man is not basically good or innocent but the opposite.

There is also a lesson about the pack mentality. How much easier is it to fall into sin or temptation in a group than it is alone? When young people goad, dare and egg each other on they can be capable of great evil--peer pressure is a powerful force. We see it in the media when a group loses control and in a violent frenzy attacks a person in the street. But we will not ultimately stand before God in a group but by ourselves to account for our behaviour. It is why the Bible warns us about the company we keep and who we choose to be our friends.

I was also reminded of the damage that can be done to children who spend too much time playing video computer games. They become lost in their own worlds of darkness where theft, violence and killing are normalised and those who murder are heroes not criminals. Lord of the Flies made me realise how easy it was for these children to begin playing a very dangerous game with life and death when they became immersed in their own world and had lost touch with reality. Maybe it will make some parents think about what their children are filling their minds with alone in their bedrooms. We shouldn't be surprised when the same children translate their video game world into a murderous rampage on our streets. That is what they have been taught to do!

The last chapter of the book was for me the most impactive as the sequence of events was unexpected. The narrative is chilling in places but definitely held my interest and I wanted to know what happened to the children in the end. There are a few swear words in the book but nothing major. There is no sexual content. There is some graphic violence and animal slaughter. This book is not really suitable for younger children but may hold lessons for older teens.

I would recommend the book for Christians for the spiritual lessons that can be learned but it is not particularly uplifting!
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LibraryThing member thebookmagpie
Maybe there is a beast… maybe it's only us

Yeah, that quote just about sums up the subtlety of this book for me. I mean, not that lack of subtlety is a prerequisite for enjoyment, but I just didn't get out of this book what I might have done had it been a formative experience for me. I read this
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book this year, at the age of 23, instead of at school, where pretty much everyone else read it. Sometimes you can get over it, sometimes you can't. Sometimes you're better off just watching The Simpsons episode that covers the same ground. This is one of those times.

Everyone knows the plot, so I don't think there's any point in regurgitating it. I think my first problem with it is that I fundamentally disagree with Golding about the moral message that he's sending with this book, though I can see why it might have been useful tool at the time – I just think there are caveats to the idea that anyone has brutality inside of them, especially when a certain group mentality sets in. But I think the other failing of the story is that, for me, this central idea is all there is to the book. I didn't particularly enjoy the prose – I found it stilted and sterile. I didn't particularly enjoy the story, perhaps because I knew where it was going, or perhaps because I felt that I saw so little inside the heads of the people involved, except by way of the few incidents that make up the book. I just didn't particularly like anything about the story or feel anything when I read it. Big things, disgusting and terrifying things happened in this story, and I just sort of shrugged and still felt like all it was was a story, a tale of morality (or lack thereof) and not something that swept me away.

Again, this is all strictly personal and I can see why it is so widely read and why people encourage its reading. I can't decide whether its distinct lack of any sort of female presence had something to do with my inability to relate to the story. I think maybe not, but it's probably something to consider. I didn't dislike the book, and I wouldn't say it isn't worth a read – in fact, my relatively high rating despite my personal dislike mainly reflects the place this book holds in my understanding and that of others of relatively recent literature – but it's not something I would ever be convinced to reread, I don't think.

I give Lord of the Flies seven out of ten.
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LibraryThing member edgeworth
Lord of the Flies is one of those enduring stories that has entered basic pop culture awareness, and has been spoofed and mimicked and referenced so many times that almost everyone has heard of it, and most would have a basic grasp of the plot (shipwrecked children descend into savagery) even if
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they don’t know the specifics. For my part, I remember watching the 1990 film version (which makes the kids American, but is otherwise a fairly faithful, albeit mediocre, adaptation) as part of the curriculum in high school. Showing Lord of the Flies to teenagers is, of course, a fairly pointless exercise. I don’t remember it well, but I’m pretty sure the class’ general reaction was something along the lines of the Aryan Brotherhood watching Jesse’s confession tape in Breaking Bad.

So I knew all the basic plot points, and the ending, but it’s still an intense and gripping novel. Golding is an excellent author (a Nobel laureate, which I didn’t know before) and his depictions of the island are one of the strongest points in the book – a heat-soaked scrap of land covered in thick, stringy jungle, shadows under the creepers, butterflies dancing around each other – a beautiful and peaceful place which nonetheless has an eerie sense of menace about it. The gradual shift in power and authority among the children, as they go from following an elected “chief” to falling into line behind a vicious, bullying dictator, is a masterpiece of foreboding and dread, and I especially liked the adrenaline-soaked final chapter as the protagonist desperately flees for his life.

I’d thought before reading it that Lord of the Flies was set during World War II, but apparently it actually takes place during an “evacuation” in the middle of a nuclear war, as we learn from a few intriguing scraps of dialogue. This goes some way towards explaining why the children aren’t rescued for so long, and draws a clear parallel between their own brutality and the wider violence in the adult world, particularly in the novel’s final sentence.

There’s a lot of that, actually – symbolism and juxtaposition and themes about morality and authority, to the point where it almost feels like Golding was writing it with one eye on the English curriculum; I half-expected to see those essay questions that some editions of classic novels have at the back. But it’s hard to fault him for this when the book is, simply put, so great. Lord of the Flies is a dark and brilliant novel that everybody should read.
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LibraryThing member ellenmarine
Probably the best book I've ever read. The story charts the adventure, and subsequent descent into savagery, of a plane-full of boys, whose transport crashes, killing the few adults on board. Their refuge is a small island, on which they do not manage to cohabit peacefully for long.

This is a
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brilliantly imaginative (and probably quite plausible) investigation into a hypothetical microcosm containing only young boys, and situated in what is essentially a very lonely, isolated place, with no rules or regulations except those they ordain for themselves. The narrative is intense and gripping; the characters plausible and engaging. The unpleasantness of some scenes are not to everyone's taste, but I'd recommend it to just about anyone else. Awesome book.
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LibraryThing member magst
I didn't enjoyed it as much when I was a senior in high school, but now that I have reread it I think it's a wonderful book!
LibraryThing member SeriousGrace
This could be called the most chilling sociological experiment of all times (besides Richard Connell's The Most Dangerous Game.) What happens when you take the most prim and organized society (proper English boys from a prep school), hand it the suggestion of chaos and violence (they are escaping a
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nuclear war), then leave it to its own devices without guidance (a deserted island without adults)? All normalcy goes out the window when the boys try to build their own hierarchical, structured society. In a Darwinian approach some boys, the strongest & smartest, rise to the top while weaker boys become scapegoats and victims of paranoia. In the beginning the group is held together by necessity. They recognize the need for fairness and organization, especially if they want to be rescued. But all that vanishes when the younger boys become increasingly convinced there is a monster on the island. No amount of rationalizing can calm them. Fear and violence escalates until there is no turning back. All calm is lost to tragedy.
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