Missed the boat

I am way, way, way late to this party. For the first time, I just read Lord of the Flies by William Golding. I’ve been told that this book was required reading in most high schools or middle schools, so I’m not sure how it slipped by me. I’ve heard about it over and over again, and since several of the books I wanted from the library were unavailable, I picked it up.

First off, this book was not what I was expecting. Before reading, I asked the opinions of people who read the book. Time and time again I was told it was a twisted and disturbing story. Now that I’ve read it, I respectfully disagree. It was not a bad book. In fact, I enjoyed it. However, I’m curious to know why people find the story disturbing.

Marooned on an island, these boys are left with no adult supervision, no previous survival training, and no supplies. Literally stranded, I have to say, I was more surprised that they figured out how to survive more than anything. The right idea’s were in place, and if this were a true story, these kids would be legendary for their survival instincts. Piggy’s ingenuity and Ralph’s insistence on the fire were brilliant ideas, and spot on. The worry for the “littluns” was slightly surprising, but only because it was a very maternal thing to experience, something young boys aren’t expected to feel, nor act on.

The fact that a superiority complex reared its ugly head was not surprising. It was an island inhabited only by adolescent males. Everyone wants to be the leader, no one wants to be the pack. The fact that these kids were 100% isolated from any sort of established society gives plenty of reason to the complexes and urges the boys felt, and gives credence to the madness that eventually doomed Simon, Piggy, Roger, Jack, and many others. Pubescent testosterone flowing through the veins of children who just want to survive can be a deadly combination. Throw in a dash of “penis envy” and this story unfolds exactly how it should.Even the blunders and carelessness fit in. These kids can’t be expected to know everything, and mistakes were bound to be made.

The one thing I disliked most about this book was that mystery surrounding the parachute. Simon was rambling about a “body”, the parachute wrapped around him, but there was never anything definitive about the body, or why it was apart of the story. I feel like the author threw in a random excuse for the loss of Simon’s life. He needed a reason to kill him off, and throwing in something random was the best solution. In my opinion, that plot line definitely needed to be probed a bit more.

Overall, I can’t say that I am disturbed by the story at all. Nothing was really shocking, and nothing was truly unexpected, but not to the point of predictability. Well balanced, and very much understandable why it’s a classic.

I’m curious to see what my readers think. Did you read the book? If so, did you find it disturbing? Why? Why not?


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April 2011
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