William Golding’s Lord of the Flies

William Golding’s novel Lord of the Flies centers around the challenges that a group of boys faces trying to survive and maintain order while stranded on a deserted island. After a plane crash during wartime, Ralph finds himself stranded on a Pacific island with a boy named Piggy. Ralph finds a conch shell and uses it to bring the survivors together, earning him the title of chief. However, not everyone is satisfied with his leadership, as a boy named Jack Merridew and his choir boys frequently voice their dissent. As the boys explore the island they find that it has ample food, with wild pigs and fruit.

However, even though the food situation improves and the boys are able to build a fire, their relationships fray from the inside over time. Piggy is frequently made fun of by the other boys for his lack of physical vigor and demeanor. Most of the boys stop helping with building shelters and instead spend their days having fun instead, developing legends about a beast that lives on the island. Jack gains support by promising to slay this beast, and this further leads to conflict, as Ralph does not believe in this beast. When a ship passes by, the boys who were supposed to be maintaining a signal fire end up hunting with Jack instead, losing their chance to go home.

Later on, a fighter pilot dies while flying over the island and his body gets stuck in a tree on a mountain. His body is mistaken for the beast’s and when many of the boys don’t believe that the beast is real, Jack goes off to form his own group. The idea of the beast soon takes over Jack’s group, as the boys begin promising sacrifices to the imaginary creature. When one of the boys, Simon, discovers the fighter pilot’s body, he is killed en route by the other boys when he is mistaken for the beast.

Jack’s camp grows more power hungry when they steal Piggy’s glasses, which are used to start fires. When the boys go back to retrieve them, one of Jack’s supporters drops a rock that ends up killing Piggy. Jack ultimately decides to hunt after Ralph, and as Ralph runs, he finds a British naval-officer, who is disappointed to see British children behaving in such an uncivilized manner.

Overall, Lord of the Flies was an interesting book that kept my attention throughout its course, but there were several moments that left me frustrated. If only the boys had stayed to maintain the signal fire when a ship passed by, Simon and Piggy’s deaths could have been avoided and the boys could have been saved. If a fighter pilot hadn’t happened to have landed on the island, the myth surrounding the beast would have lost a lot of its pull. Nevertheless, I found the ending to be quite powerful. Golding ironically explores the implications of war when the naval officer is disappointed at the boys for behaving like this before turning back to his own warship. I would definitely recommend this book for a wide range of readers (though you may find it a bit less interesting after reading this review and learning the whole plot).

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