Saturday, June 16, 2012
Book Review of Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Author: William Golding
Publisher: Perigee Literature
Type of book: isolated, civilization vs wild, kids, middle school, British, savages, dystopia, survival
Year it was published: 1954
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.
The characters are drawn one dimensionally and I couldn't connect to them; that is, you already know that Ralph and Piggy will be the voices of reason, that Jack will be an antagonist, and so forth. I had hoped for something in-depth when it comes to characters or writing, instead of something that will be better off as a movie or TV show. There aren't any girl characters, which is interesting in a way because it is thought that women serve as a civilizing influence on the men.
Without the influence of civilization, people become savages.
This is in third person narrative, primarily from Ralph's point of view, although once in a while we get a sneak peek into Simon's or Jack's points of view. I couldn't connect to the characters and a lot of what was talked about went over my head. I felt that the language was very simplistic. A lot of things happened but the author never allowed for the reader to connect or to feel for the characters, at least from my point of view.
September 19, 1911 in St. Columb Minor, England, The United Kingdom
June 19, 1993
Literature & Fiction
About this author
Sir William Gerald Golding was a British novelist, poet, playwright and Nobel Prize for Literature laureate, best known for his novel Lord of the Flies. He was also awarded the Booker Prize for literature in 1980 for his novel Rites of Passage, the first book of the trilogy To the Ends of the Earth.
In 2008, The Times ranked Golding third on their list of "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945".
I have to admit that this is not my cup of tea. The premise is interesting, and like many people, I was forced to read this book in middle school. Reading it today, however, the book didn't age well with time. I couldn't appreciate the adventure aspect nor the destruction of civilization or anything else. I only remembered what it was about from my school-days. The language is too simplistic and I didn't really feel that I was with characters throughout their journey. Everything felt too rushed. (I am happy that I am done with the book...) Also, half the time I was reading the novel, I felt like going to sleep.
1 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)