Carter Reviews: Lord of the Flies

This will be the first of a series of posts where I review works of fiction. All genres, all forms of media, nothing is sacred. To kick off, I would like to begin by reviewing the classic by William Golding, Lord of the Flies.

This book is a an interesting read, not my favorite, but a good book. Written by William Golding, the book was said by Golding himself to be a deconstruction of optimistic books like Robinson Crusoe, and the children’s books that portrayed children as perfect angels. I would have to say, I praise the book for its realism. Given my experience with boys my age, and being a young boy myself, I honestly think that many events would play out similarly to the book. Many of them would slack off or rebel, just like in Lord of the Flies. Interestingly, William Golding worked as a teacher in a school while writing the book, and actually took notes on the fights that the students got into.

I also have to praise William Golding for not waiting on getting his point across. He quickly goes in the beginning to the optimistic tone of building the fire, having the fire produce no smoke, and immediately killing off a six-year-old boy. He shows you that things are bad in that story, and they only get worse from there.

As dark as the book gets, and as clear as it is that it’s making a point, it’s really ambiguous as to what the point is. Some say that it warns against the control of an authority, others say it warns against lack of authority. On one hand, Jack, like the State, uses emotion, bullying, and the promise of self-indulgence to lead people under his authority and actually says that people should shut up and leave making decisions to him. On the other hand, the entire book takes place because there weren’t any authoritative adults to stop the children from running amok, not to mention the fact that William Golding served in the British Navy during WWII. In the end, I personally believe that he’s saying that we become savages without government, but the theme of the book is ultimately open for debate.

Overall, Lord of the Flies is a read that makes one think about the nature of humanity, and its ambiguous message will most likely be the reason we keep coming back to it.

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