Wednesday, 10 November 2010

31. The Lord of the Flies

When I had heard that American had banned this book in many of its schools I was a little surprised. I remember several classes in school reading this, pupils who were 14/15. I knew the general plot of this book; a group of boys crash land on a desert island. What I was not aware of was just how dark this book would become, and how quickly; so it was not long before I had an idea as to why the US banned this book. Golding moves quickly from fun and games for a bunch of young boys to murder and savagery.

Golding tells the story through Ralph, the main protagonist of the book who takes it upon himself to lead the group. Ralph isn’t a smart boy but with the help of Piggy- a myopic fat youngster with a quick mind-, he is able to establish some order within the group. The reader however, soon finds out that things aren’t going quite the way that Ralph hoped and it all goes awry within the group quite quickly.

The title of the book refers to a pig’s head on a stick teeming with flies, which the boys have hunted. The ‘Lord of the Flies’ sends one of the boys into a manic episode and ultimately many of the other islanders complete uncivilized savagery.

While Ralph tries his best to keep order on the island with the help of Piggy, Jack, Ralph’s rival for chief quickly removes many of the other boys from Ralph’s civilized world including Roger whose transformation from choirboy to reckless savage is terrifying.

As Ralph and Piggy try their hardest not to fall, there is glimpses of them almost turning before guilt drives them back. The ending of the book finds Ralph remorseful of his actions on the island; will the others join him?

I must admit I didn’t enjoy this book at first, and it was only the story that gripped me until the end. I found Golding’s writing style a bit heavy and wordy at times. However, it did give me a lot to think about and I enjoyed thinking about a lot of the symbolic and allegoric nature of the book.


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