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Lord of the Flies
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
I can’t remember the last time I read this book, but I must admit it was good to come back to something like this which is something that really draws you in. I should think that at least half the country by now has had to study this book at one time or another, and so loads of allegories and symbolism can be argued over certain passages in this novel.

At the beginning though it didn’t look like this book would be published at all, but after being pushed by an editor at Faber and Faber and requests for a few alterations this eventually hit the shelves in 1954. It is rather ironic that some of the most well known and popular books of the last century, that also made some authors household names were initially rejected by numerous publishers, so if you are a writer carry on and persist in your endeavours.

With a plane crash a group of schoolboys come together on a deserted island and have to make the best of things. Apart from a choir group who all know each other, and twins who obviously do know each other for the majority here they have never really met before and age from about six to twelve years old. William Golding was himself a school master for many years and so he knew and could see how children can become suddenly vicious when left to their own devices and this comes across very well in this book.

Ralph is arguably the main character in this book, but there is also Jack who is head of the choirboys, and Piggy, an overweight, bespectacled and asthmatic boy who is the most intelligent in the group. From the initial shock of their predicament we see how at first they try to get organised and make preparations for surviving and being rescued. But these are little boys and soon things start to get left undone as the smaller ones play and there is disputing amongst the older ones.

As we see the group start to flounder and separate there are tales of a monster and more and more of the boys turn to barbarism from their civilized upbringings. As the story progresses so does the savagery, which Golding doesn’t shy away from, and although we know that ultimately a group of adults would start to alter with the young boys the disintegration of modern ways happens in a shorter time frame.

Still influencing authors today this is always a good read and is ideal for those who are going to secondary school or older persons, as it reminds us all how close we really are to our ancestors despite the veneer of civilization that we try to cling to.
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42 of 47 people found the following review helpful
on 30 November 2001
This is a compelling novel, despite the content which is disturbing but true. Golding has turned young innocent children into animalistic savages, with stunning imagery and language that we have come to expect from him.
This edition is particually useful for anyone studying Lord of the Flies at school or college. The introductiion is very worth reading, giving background and insight into the book, helping with understanding of the plot and symbolism. The notes in the back are also interesting, explaining Goldings neologism "flinked" as well as most other points of interest in the novel. Highly recommended!
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54 of 61 people found the following review helpful
on 18 March 2007
This novel is an absolutely wonderful piece of literature. It is funny, moving, emotional, and beautifully crafted. Golding's attention to detail here are second to none, and the symbolism he uses in this fantastic novel is extremely complex.

The whole experience can smilarly be described as complex, but not complicated. It is easy to follow and enjoy, but as you look beneath the surface, the novel features surprises, foreshaddowing and religious significance.

As the boys lose their rules they develop and Jack forms his own tribe of terror, events in the book progress from simple bullying to stylised animal rape and even murder. Golding effectively uses these episodes to explore the darkness of man's heart, and the novel can show us what we are capable of in a similar situation.

The characters range from the Christ-like figure of Simon to the Satanic symbol that is Roger, and the opposite extremes provide a great contrast to create the tensions Golding has in the novel.

The effective conclusion is very pessimistic as is Golding's outlook on the subject:

"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".

It is a wonderful novel that everyone should read; as a good story, as beautiful literature and as a dire warning.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 19 August 2014
This is one of those books that I have been meaning to read for a number of years. At school it was on the syllabus but for some reason we never got around to reading it, so it has been sat on my bookshelf for around 20 years. I remember seeing the film at some point so I had a vague idea of the plot and what to expect. The novel has been described as a modern classic so obviously I began reading with a certain expectation.

Reading the other reviews on various sites such as amazon, the majority of readers seem to award the book either five stars or four. These detail how the different themes of power, humanity and leadership (to name but a few) are explored and how Golding weaves these into the plot, occasionally very subtly (the Conch fading throughout) and other times very blatantly (the pig's head). The story follows a group of boys that range in ages from the relatively young called little 'uns, to elder teenagers. The arrive on the island following a plane crash in the midst of an atomic war, we are not told much about the conflicts origins. The book begins with Ralph & Piggy finding each other on the beach and when they find a conch shell, Piggy tells Ralph to blow it in order that all the survivors can hear and come together for the first meeting. From here the tale progresses into a bitter battle of leadership and the split of the group.

I won't go into the plot any more than that, other reviewers seem to have already done this, sometimes in too much detail.

So what did I think of the novel? Obviously LOTF has considerable literary merit, but I am a reader that also likes to indulge in a book for escapism and pleasure. Many so called 'classics' have left me cold in the past (even more so 'modern classics'), with storylines that have almost bored me to tears. However Lord of the Flies was something of a mixed bag for me. If I had to critique the novel, it was for me, almost split into three sections. Firstly the beginning where all members of the new society were introduced and made various discoveries of their surroundings, the middle where things are starting to go wrong and the end where most of the action is held. My main issue was with the middle, here the story just seemed to drag, whatever sympathies I had built up with the characters seemed to be placed on hold as Golding began to fill paragraphs with descriptions of the island etc. It interrupted the flow of the novel and almost made me want to put it down and pick up something else. I am glad that I persevered though because when the ending began it was dark, explosive and some parts quite unexpected. However despite the middle of the novel dragging slightly (in my opinion) the surrounding tales more than made up for this. You are dragged into the island life and can feel the fear felt by it's inhabitants.

Golding really captures the boys individual personalities, and draws the reader into a real life battle of human nature, choosing not just to uncover it's positives but also delving into it's dark underbelly.

Do I believe that if a bunch of school children were marooned on an island they would act the same way? Not at all. And this is why I think Golding is such a talented writer. Even though I cannot agree with his ideas, he still managed to capture my imagination for the duration of the book and made me part of the world he created.

Am I glad I read it? Yes
Would I recommend it? Yes
Would I read it again? Probably not
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 17 June 2012
This book has been on my must-read list for as long as I can remember, and it IS a must-read. You will either love it or hate, but you must read it. At 24, I was a little ashamed I had not done the reading yet, and so I finally picked it up and told myself I was going to get this book out of the way. However, I realized how profound and real this book was a couple of chapters into it, and I began to enjoy it. I could write several papers on this book discussing it from several hundred angles and perspectives, and I loved that I could.

The premise of this story is very simple, but with much underlying depth. It is about a bunch of children whose plane crashes onto a deserted island land and are left completely alone with no adult supervision - pretty much how I'd imagine LOST would turn out if it were based on a bunch of children rather than adults.

Protagonist fair-haired Ralph becomes the voice of reason on the island. He is voted "chief" and takes leadership of the lost boys, by laying down ground rules and taking care of essentials - fire and shelter. On the other hand, antagonist redhead Jack is the wild, untamed boy who does not want to follow the rules. Then there's bespectacled Piggy, who is the wise, intelligent boy, who provides Ralph with advise and sensible suggestions. And last, but definitely not least, is Simon - the sacrificial lamb, almost like a Jesus figure. As one reviewer so aptly put it: "I prefer to read him as sympathetic point of view character upon which readers are invited to project themselves. His political disinterest are traits unique to his presentation and establish Simon as somewhat of a blank canvas upon which the reader can paint his own image. Simon's refusal to pick sides and his frequent assertion that he is on the outside give him an outlier identity that correlates him with the reader as an onlooker - present, but separate. Likewise his ability to see the island's beast for what it really is, the depth of his empathy towards the younger children and his clairvoyant understanding of their every need suggests he has access to information that should otherwise only be available to the reader."

Everything in this book is symbolic, from the characters mentioned to the conch that was used for order as a symbol of democracy, to the fire that represented adult responsibility, to a beast that pretty much represented fears. And all events are well-prepared for in advance by William Golding, as he gives us as many hints and clues as possible to reveal to us what was about to happen next. A simple, innocent act slowly builds up into a shocking act of savagery. Golding very visually illustrates to us how chaos in society is initiated. One innocent act of rebellion. One simple thought. One small step away from the rules that were set by the chief. Chaos begins in people's minds. It is indeed a novel about our human nature.

As I was reading the book, I received several comments from people who saw me reading it and who would say things like "Golding has a great imagination" or "boys will be boys" or "that's a very disturbing book" and so on. However, I don't believe William Golding had to use much imagination - he was probably just recalling all the horrors of his war days. All he needed to do was rely on his own memory of human nature as he had witnessed it during World War II.

And this isn't a story for children, or about boys in particular. This is a story about humans in general. We're all capable of savagery, if put in a situation that called for it, and that is a fact.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 20 July 2008
I found the 14 year olds perspective really interesting. I read this book for G.C.S.E. and loved it! admittedly I had read it several years before and found it O.K. Looking back I think I missed some of the finer points and the more gory bits put me off (I was about 10 and more interested in ponies at the time).

It is true to say that often studying a book can ruin it, destroying the magic of the story. but in my case study enriched the experience and helped me to understand some of the finer points. at the time I loved the way that understanding added new depths to the text.

I have just read it again and I still love it. one of the greatest things about LOTF is its ability to appeal to both a young and mature audience, and I was delighted to find that, like teaching, age also offers new angles of approach and fresh perspectives.

Having sung its praises I do feel that William Golding had an axe to grind when he was writing LOTF and there is an ever-present religious undertone that can get a bit monotonus. I think for this reason the book is better suited to younger readers and will be especially appreciated by those with a bit of nouse, who are able to see but not be dragged in by some of the books (arguably) outdated moral ideals that seem a little un-realistic. Similarly some of the more obvious analytical gems, such as the island as a microcosm of the world and the boys as representations of humanity get a bit dull and repetitive, but a bit of reading around will see you well rewarded.

For me LOTF remains a good story and an excellent introduction to textual analysis that is very rewarding no matter when you read it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon 28 January 2008
This being a classic most of us had to read in school, I dared commenting on some plot points - so,
***** *** ** * WARNING: POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD * ** *** *****

A number of phospholipids left alone in solution will self-organize into a double-layer membrane. A number of differentiated cells carry the inherent capability of self-organize into a semblance of tissue. Do humans carry a similar inherent tendency to self-organize into organized societies? And at what price?

From Stephen King's THE STAND to one of the best TV series ever, LOST, the idea of an isolated group of survivors forming a pristine human society and falling to avoid our dark proclivities has been explored again and again. This 1954 novel was the original telling of it. WILLIAM GOLDING being a Literature Nobelist, it comes to no surprise that his prose is mesmerizing, economic and direct at the same time.

Most societal archetypes and their interactive trajectories are elegantly represented: the benevolent yet eventually dethroned natural leader (Ralph) that is vindicated only after a deus ex machina intervention (the Naval officer); the militaristic idiot that manages to pass as a charismatic necessity (Jack); the technology-dependent intellectual weakling (Piggy) that eventually gets murdered by the brutal dictator (Roger) - who would come up running the show in the end if not stopped by their return to civilization. Reading LORD OF THE FLIES will bring up a great number of familiar societal types. Nevertheless, GOLDING presents a rather deterministic viewpoint.

One does not have to agree with GOLDING's pessimistic myth: we humans are not inherently bound to our societal shackles - and are perfectly capable of both doing the unexpected and surviving without a structured civilization. We existed a long time without it and we can learn again to do so if dictated by necessity. And, keep in mind, according to the Freudian approach, socialization is the root of most...psychosis.

It will keep you thinking long after the last page is turned.

RECOMMENDED!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 27 April 2012
I read this book at school a lot of years ago and decided to re-visit it. It is every bit as clever as it was back then too!! I also gave it to my step-son who has learning/perception difficulties and struggles to understand why he shouldn't just do what he wants in life. I hoped it would make him see that we need some order and guidance in life. He really enjoyed it and he's only 12 but had to have a bit of help with it. He got really engrossed in the characters and identified closely with the weaker of the group who got down-trodden. It has made him see that even though he doesn't like school rules the system would fall apart without the netting they provide and the more violent elements of his school would take over. He being a weaker force would get trodden underway so he is now more appreciatinve for the protection law and order supplies.
The characters are played out beautifully and the plot intensifies, you are led into increasingly feeling scared for the vulnerable and horrified at how inherently savage humans can become in a short space of time. I know this is currently a GCSE curriculum book and I am sure anyone who has studied it will never forget it! Like a more violent version of Peter Pan!!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
It's difficult to write a concise review for a book which touches so many issues and represents so many different ideas.

There are definite religious and political parallels drawn in Lord of The Flies, and the idea of how a society thrown together in a loose semblance of democratic order can quickly break down and become savage has since (and indeed before) provided a good spine for a story.

The real strength of this book however is the human story. A novel dealing with young boys stranded on an island was always going to be emotive - and Golding seems to have steered away from making the book over sentimental. This maybe takes away some of the raw emotion the reader ought to feel, but it also makes the book feel more authoritative - strengthening the underlying political messages.

Central to the book is the relationship between Ralph and Piggy. Ralph being the broody leader of the group; the nearest thing to an adult mind. And Piggy being his aide, albeit not officially - him being the only boy able to unite the group, even if it is a union of mockery. There are some tense moments in the book, particularly towards the end where there is a struggle for power between Ralph and choir-boy-turned-bad, Jack.

Golding manages to use subtle devices to convey a wider meaning with only a few words, or a simple gesture. The way the boys simply deny an event happened to ignore the horror of their actions. The way the conch shell seems to symbolise power, and how an innocent uttering can be loaded with vitriol.

It's the power-struggle and the desire to know the ultimate fate of the boys on the island which compel the reader to read on. This is a fascinating read and it plays on your mind for a while afterwards. The ending seemed a little flat, almost too convenient, but it also vilified Ralph's constant request to keep the fire burning.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 16 May 2005
This is an excellent book and can be read on many different levels. It tells the story of a group of young children stranded on a deserted island, no adults, no order and what ensues.
It's a very powerful book, very simple yet very complex on different levels. It is highly relevant in today's society and we can all learn a lot from it. It is very real, at first you don't want to believe that children are capable of such atrocities, but as you read on you realise it is undeniable human nature. It is a very gruesome and horrible but it makes you aware of the depravity of the human race.
I was given this to read as a set book for school, once I started reading I couldn't put it down. It's not often that I am genuinely hooked on a book. It's suitable for all ages and readers who can read. William Golding uses deep character relationships which are very moving. The pace of the book is quite slow but it's very descriptive and you can build up a vivid mental picture.
This is a must read it has it all, and there is something in it for everyone. It is very honest and has lead me to question myself if I was stranded on a desert island with my classmates how would I react? Before reading Lord of the Flies I would have said I would be a leader and it would all be fine. After reading the book I fear my intentions would be honourable but I don't know about the consequences.
It is a short easy read and one of my all time favourites, an all time classic, buy it!
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