Lord of the Flies

Being homeschooled means I missed quite a few classic required reads, so now I’m taking some time to try to catch up. Because when you find it for 10 cents, why not?

Let me just say, I went into William Goulding’s Lord of the Flies with little knowledge of what it was about, other than kids on a island. Let me tell you, it was wild and I wasn’t really prepared for it.

The book starts right in, giving the reader little to no context for what’s going on. You have to piece it together as you go. A plane full of boys crashes on a deserted island, and the boys must figure out how to survive. They elect Ralph as their leader and things go well for a while. But when Jack, Ralphs only real rival, decides he doesn’t like Ralph’s leadership style, the groups splits up and things begin to breakdown.

By the time the boys are finally rescued, they’ve survived a series of traumatic events, leaving them all changed.

I was confused at first, trying to figure out the context for the story. It wasn’t apparent, right off, whether the plane crashed or just dumped them. Also relatively unclear was the time the book was set in. These aren’t huge things, but they help orient the reader.

However, once the story got going, it moved quickly. Ralph’s character represents logic and rationality and Jack’s character is very much impulse and feelings, rather a classic case of super-ego and id, without an ego to balance them. In the end, it’s a fight between Ralph, who wants to be rescued, and Jack, who is focused on the joys of wild abandon and no consequences.

I wasn’t prepared for several of the plot twists, though I see how the author uses them to explore what makes a man.

All in all, it was a quick, enjoyable read, and I definitely see how you could get a lot of discussion out of it.

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