on 2 October 2002
Nobody who reads this novel fails to realise the significance of it. I read it for my GCSE course, and then again for the sheer hell of it. Golding's depiction of a group of boys' descent into madness and savagery is totally gripping and believable.
Shocking and powerful, the Lord of the Flies is a novel of supreme quality that will always move any reader with its scenes of humour, drama, and terrible savagery. It is compelling and wonderful from start to finish. A revelation.
I can quite honestly say I have read nothing better.
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.
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!
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!
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!!
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.
on 18 May 2005
What genre could you slip a book into when it just seems to be in a genre of it's own? And even when you've found that genre, it contradicts itself and you can see it is something else, entirely different. Lord of the Flies is such a book. Trying to slot it into a pigeonhole has proved impossible to me. Just when it seems as if it fits into 'action' it wiggles free and shows me how it is, in fact, a thriller. Immediately disagreeing with itself, it tells us how it is a mere social commentary. Wait, is it a horror book? It's scary, but not in a 'ghosts and ghouls and nightmares' sort of way. Yes, it is thrilling and action-packed, but not in a 'car chases and bombs and guns' sort of way. It's even quite romantic, but not in a 'boy meets girl and falls in love and elopes with her' sort of way. It is much subtler than that. Reading this story is similar to looking at one of those optical illusion drawings. Look at it one way, you can see a horse looking over fence. Looking at it from a different light, it shows a frog sitting on a lily pad. However, this is not the type of book that simply cannot decide what it wants to say, so keeps switching and hopping around in a desperate bid to seem interesting. Lord of the Flies is a book that knows exactly what it wants to say to you, how it's going to phrase it and, child, you shall listen and you shall not forget that message. That sort of book, that forces you to sit up and listen, that lingers at the back of your mind for weeks, months, years after you've read it, should only ever be called a masterpiece. That is simply what it is. This book will change the way you think, the way you see yourself, other people and how society is organised. That is what a true masterpiece is.
Lord of the Flies tells the story of a group of English schoolboys aged between six and twelve stranded on a 'paradise island' in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Surrounded by crystal clear waters, with icing sugar beaches that stretch the whole way round the island and the mysterious jungle to explore, it gives the impression of pure bliss, an escape from everyday life. With no adults present, the boys are forced to develop their own society. This stage of the book shows similarities with human evolution, as they 'discover' fire and establish levels of authority. They appear to have formed a mature, democratic system, but gradually this organisation starts to slip away as the boys primal instincts seem to take over, and the 'society' crumbles.
The plot is very simple, yet at the same time, strangely layered and twisted. It is gripping, quick-paced yet it is not written hurriedly, and, to sum it up in a word, beautiful.
Lord of the Flies is a terrifying story. Reading how the boys' fight for their survival, against the children who they were friends with makes you wonder how you can trust anyone. You find yourself wondering how you would cope in that situation. I expect most people would think that they would remain rational and not give in to their instincts, but do you know that? If you had asked Simon before he found himself on the island what he would do, would you expect him to say that he would probably kill someone? I doubt it.
I am in year 10, and was told by my teacher what an amazing book it was. I doubted her, but now i can see what she means.
This book is an utterly essential read. Never have I read a book quite so accurate, yet so exaggerated. Disturbing. Amazing. Unforgettable.
There is little to add to the other 160+ reviews. Having served during WWII, Golding's view of Humankind is coloured by that experience as he admits in his essay, "Fable" in his book "The Hot Gates".
"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'. " wrote a previous reviewer. Taken a stage further, the boys have been saved by the cruiser but who will save the cruiser and its men?
It is a fascinating book, exceptionally well-written by a great story-teller who, as a teacher, knew boys as a species; it can be read and re-read many times, and every time something knew will appear. Although I do not agree with his conclusions, I enjoyed his fable.
PS The new film is not worth spending time with. The American film-makers obviously had not understood the reason for the choir boys, in addition to many others misunderstandings. Watch the fading black-and-white.
on 1 December 2007
I wonder if this book is in the vein of other dystopian views of the world that were published in the mid-20th century, such as Brave New World and 1984. Sure, Lord of the Flies isn't necessarily directly predicting a bleak future for humanity, but it does present a bleak view of human nature, in my opinion. In the following statement I am probably making an oversimplification that doesn't do justice to the complexity of Golding's classic or Golding's thinking in general: trying to portray human nature via the behavior of a handful of main characters and a few of their followers can't possibly capture the diversity of human personality and behavior. Maybe Golding assumes that these few kids are representative of the sample of ALL kids, as a statistician might say. In either case, an interesting read that will remain a classic. Author of Adjust Your Brain: A Practical Theory for Maximizing Mental Health.
on 19 June 2008
I have just finished my GCSEs and I had to study this book. This is a novel not to be missed. The plot, you'd think, is simple enough. Some young boys are stranded on an island in the middle of the war. But there are many hidden meanings within the story, those of dictatorship, savagery and the true but terrible understanding of the "Beast". I think Golding does a wonderful job in portraying each of the characters; Ralph, Jack, Piggy etc. This book was written as a response to "Corral Island" and Golding wished to show what he thought would happen if young boys were put on a tropical island, without adults to enforce law and order. Throughout the novel, you are able to witness the change the boys go through at being left to their own devices. There is constant rivalry between Jack and Ralph, which becomes more brutal and prominant.
This is a classic read and not to be missed!