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Lord of the flies by William Golding
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Lord of the flies (original 1954; edition 1975)

by William Golding, E.L. Epstein (Foreword)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
32,67850623 (3.74)1 / 850
Member:jburlinson
Title:Lord of the flies
Authors:William Golding
Other authors:E.L. Epstein (Foreword)
Info:Aeonian Press (1975), 190 p.
Collections:Your library
Rating:****1/2
Tags:Inkish literature

Work details

Lord of the Flies by William Golding (1954)

  1. 154
    Battle Royale by Koushun Takami (JGKC, Panairjdde)
    Panairjdde: Two books that explore the survival instinct of people, even at youg age, as fueled by fear and lust for violence
  2. 146
    The Giver by Lois Lowry (FFortuna)
  3. 72
    The Cement Garden by Ian McEwan (KayCliff)
  4. 50
    High-Rise by J. G. Ballard (bertilak)
    bertilak: Two books about 'civilized' people becoming tribal and violent. However, Ballard is a disinterested diagnostician and Golding is a moralist.
  5. 52
    A High Wind in Jamaica by Richard Hughes (pitjrw)
    pitjrw: Similar outlook on youth but a lot funnier and great description of a hurricane that plays the same role as the nuclear holacaust in Lord.
  6. 31
    Friday and Robinson: life on Esperanza Island by Michel Tournier (yokai)
  7. 31
    Under The Dome by Stephen King (sturlington)
    sturlington: Under the Dome is an adult version of Lord of the Flies.
  8. 20
    The Only Ones by Aaron Starmer (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: A world without adults with some differences and similarities.
  9. 20
    Nip the Buds, Shoot the Kids by Kenzaburō Ōe (JuliaMaria)
    JuliaMaria: Kinder auf sich allein gestellt - was sagt es über die Gesellschaft aus?
  10. 31
    Tunnel in the Sky by Robert A. Heinlein (sandstone78)
    sandstone78: A more optimistic view of young people in a society of their own- I read this on my own from the school library a few years before Lord of the Flies was required reading, and it seemed much more reasonable to me.
  11. 42
    The Beach by Alex Garland (booklove2, mcenroeucsb)
    booklove2: The Beach is like Lord of the Flies for adults, starring adults.
  12. 65
    The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks (villanova)
  13. 43
    Robinson Crusoe [Norton Critical Edition] by Daniel Defoe (TomWaitsTables)
  14. 00
    Orphan Island by Rose Macaulay (KayCliff)
  15. 00
    I'm the King of the Castle by Susan Hill (KayCliff)
  16. 11
    HERE [away from it all] by Polly Hope (SomeGuyInVirginia)
  17. 11
    The Drifting Classroom, Vol. 1 by Kazuo Umezu (scotchpenicillin)
    scotchpenicillin: Comment des enfants confontés à une situation extraordinaire re-construisent un semblant de société...
  18. 11
    After the Rain by John Bowen (edwinbcn)
  19. 11
    Savages by Shirley Conran (shesinplainview)
  20. 12
    House of Stairs by William Sleator (MyriadBooks)

(see all 26 recommendations)

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English (466)  Italian (8)  French (7)  Finnish (6)  Spanish (6)  Dutch (5)  German (3)  Danish (1)  Swedish (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Catalan (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (506)
Showing 1-5 of 466 (next | show all)
Twisted and disgusting, but a great book. One of those that are very thought provoking, but I would rather the content stay on the pages XD ( )
  Shadow494 | Jun 20, 2016 |

Written in the afterword:

The theme for LORD OF THE FLIES is described by Golding as follows (in the same publicity questionnaire): "The theme is an attempt to trace the defects of society back to the defects of human nature. The moral is that the shape of a society must depend on the ethical nature of the individual and not on any political system however apparently logical or respectable. The whole book is symbolic in nature except...." - and here I end the quote because it provides spoilers for the ending of the novel. (spoilers after review in spoiler tags if curious for the rest)

After I was 80% or so through with this, I started wondering about why it was such a commonly chosen book required for school reading. Did the teachers and administration mistakeningly assume it would somehow drive home the point that children need adults to remind them of right and wrong, right and fair, honest and true? I would hope that no adult would assume children would get that moral lesson from this text, when we know the truth ourselves, and it is this: that perhaps a group of adults in mixed company, who suddenly faced no law or consequence of action, would be much more terrifying on an island than a group of children.

Maybe they choose the book to show how important society and law can be to keep things in order and not let the wildness take over, although the author seems to disagree with this ideology. He says that despite a logical, respectable system, it can depend on the nature of the individual.

I suppose this book would have been downright boring had the group been comprised of likeminded pacifist individuals who wanted to do coconut shell tea parties over a fire while content munching on the island berries.

Instead of that pretty picture, we get a mix of boys who are savages at heart, intent on killing pigs on the island for meat....but really just because they want to kill something. At the heart of it is how one bad seed leads others to corrupt growth, tainting the entire group and turning everyone against each other.

The one lone person with sense was the most bullied, nicknamed "piggy" for his weight issue, scoffed at when his asthma acted up, and was so poorly respected they even took his glasses to make fires. It's possible the author in that day was already speaking against bullying, but it's more likely that it has always been a common issue and often the most rebelled against is the brightest of the bunch in the first place, just that groups are too dim-witted and prejudiced to listen.

It fully works as a dystopia - it's not in the future, but it's a twisted 'society gone wrong in unusual setting' scenario. The island certainly wasn't utopia - despite how pretty it seemed. And how small was this thing? They made it seem incredibly tiny.

As much as I enjoyed the book - and I did, it was riveting, well-written, with rounded characterization that rang true - I think it would have been interesting to add some more nature elements other than fire and poor pigs. Island snakes are creepy, they did say there were sharks in the water beyond the safe lake-thing area but never mentioned it again - as twisted as it sounds, I kind of wanted a wild bore to show at least one of the savages who was boss since they were so relentlessly after the pigs. Even if the author wrote it to focus on the nature of man overriding civilization's best intentions, it would have been even more tense to add some of that in the mix before their little group started falling apart. Even if no one were hurt, the suspense of it would have made the story more gripping than it already was.

I enjoyed how - instead of just having the sides of leadership struggling for dominance, followers unsure who to follow, and a breakdown of civilization - they also had a fear of an unknown element they called 'the beast.' It wouldn't have been realistic for them, especially as children, not to have a least one overriding fear to help shape them. I think most civilizations were originally shaped from fear as they formed themselves anyway.

Overall, whether schools want you to read it or not, it's a worthy classic. I'm curious on reading more from the author since I dug his writing style and appreciate his honest look at the subject.

Rest of quote from author on theme that reveals the ending The whole book is symbolic in nature except....the rescue in the end where adult life appears, dignified and capable, but in reality enmeshed in the same evil as the symbolic life of the children on the island. The officer, having interrupted a man-hunt, prepares to take the children off the island in a cruiser which will presently be hunting its enemy in the same implacable way. And who will rescue the adult and his cruiser?"

And this was beyond creepy -

( )
  ErinPaperbackstash | Jun 14, 2016 |
Through an incredible and disturbing story of a group of island-stranded kids, William Golding explores the puzzling question: is mankind good, or is it evil? The kids, who survived a terrible plane crash, are put face to face with death in a variety of situation. The group quickly develops a way of government. At first, the stranded boys cooperate, attempting to gather food, make shelters, and maintain signal fires. Overseeing their efforts are Ralph, and Piggy, Ralph's chubby, wisdom-dispensing sidekick whose thick spectacles come in handy for lighting fires. Although Ralph tries to impose order and delegate responsibility, there are many in their number who would rather swim, play, or hunt the island's wild pig population. Soon Ralph's rules are being ignored or challenged outright. His fiercest enemy is Jack, the redheaded leader of the pig hunters, who manages to lure away many of the boys to join his band of painted savages. The situation deteriorates as their unstable civilization continue to fall away, until Ralph discovers that instead of being hunters, he and Piggy have become the hunted. Golding's gripping novel explores the boundary between human reason and animal instinct, all on the brutal playing field of adolescent competition.
  Hayfastutman | Jun 9, 2016 |
Narrated by the author, with brief but illuminating fore- & afterword. Although he's not an actor, nor in perfect control of his voice, I do think he was the best man for the job as he knew exactly how he wanted it to scan. For example, he didn't differentiate different characters' voices. But he did read the exciting bits a little faster than the thoughtful bits.

As far as the story goes - well, it's become such an iconographic & ingrained part of our culture that it's not really all that shocking or bewildering anymore. Otoh, if you've somehow not already become familiar with the themes, it's a must read.

And there were details I got out of it this time around that I hadn't before, for example Simon's sub-plot. And I was intrigued by the interesting r'ship that Ralph and Jack had that made the later horrifying developments seem unlikely - but then I actually spent time with the story and thought about how these boys represented a possible microcosm of society, and realized that the climax was not unlikely but actually inevitable. ( )
1 vote Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
I read this book in 6th grade, as part of an "advanced" program. I wish I hadn't read it quite that early; I might have enjoyed it more. I found it hard to get past the graphic descriptions of blood and gore and to the meat of the story. I do suggest it, however; it seemed like an interesting book. (Being a 6th grade girl, I wasn't so into the "blood and gore, more and more" thing.)
It does contain some disturbing subject matter. All in all, Golding describes what happens when society falls apart very vividly, and portrays the savageness of humanity gone wrong very well. ( )
  Carol420 | May 31, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 466 (next | show all)
There is no blinking the fact that this English schoolmaster turned novelist understands growing boys to the heart; one must go back to"High Wind in Jamaica" to find a comparable tour de force. The uneasy conviction persists that he despises the child who is father to the man-and the man as well. Homo sapiens needs all the friends he can find these days, in and out of novels.
added by Shortride | editThe New York Times, William du Bois (pay site) (Oct 21, 1955)
 
"Lord of the Flies" is an allegory on human society today, the novel's primary implication being that what we have come to call civilization is, at best, skin deep. With undertones of "1984" and "High Wind in Jamaica," this brilliant work is a frightening parody on man's return (in a few weeks) to that state of darkness from which it took him thousands of years to return. Fully to succeed, a fantasy must approach very close to reality. "Lord of the Flies" does. It must also be superbly written. It is.
added by Shortride | editThe New York Times Book Review, James Stern (pay site) (Oct 23, 1954)
 

» Add other authors (32 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Golding, Williamprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Davidson, AndrewCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Déry, TiborTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Epstein, E. L.Afterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jessurun d'Oliveira, H.U.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Perkki, JuhanaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Smolka, DieterHerausgebersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
For my mother and father
First words
The boy with fair hair lowered himself down the last few feet of rock and began to pick his way toward the lagoon.
Quotations
His voice rose under the black smoke before the burning wreckage of the island; and infected by that emotion, the other little boys began to shake and sob too. And in the middle of them, with filthy body, matted hair, and unwiped nose, Ralph wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of man's heart, and the fall through the air of the true, wise friend called Piggy.
Maybe there is a beast - maybe it's only us.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
When Lord of the Flies appeared in 1954 it received unprecedented reviews for a first novel. Critics used such phrases as "beautifully written, tragic and provocative...vivid and enthralling...this beautiful and desperate book...completely convincing and often very frightening...its progress is magnificent...like a fragment of nightmare...a dizzy climax of terror...the terrible spell of this book..." E.M. Forster chose it as the Outstanding Novel of the Year. Time and Tide touched upon perhaps the most important facet of this book when it said, "It is not only a first-rate adventure story but a parable of our times," and articles on this and subsequent Golding novels have stressed these twin aspects of Golding: a consummate control of the novel form, and a superb all-encompassing vision of reality which communicates itself with a power reminiscent of Conrad.

AR Level 5.0, 9 Pts.
Haiku summary
Diverging lenses
To start a fire? Golding knew
Nothing of optics.
(thorold)

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0399501487, Mass Market Paperback)

William Golding's classic tale about a group of English schoolboys who are plane-wrecked on a deserted island is just as chilling and relevant today as when it was first published in 1954. At first, the stranded boys cooperate, attempting to gather food, make shelters, and maintain signal fires. Overseeing their efforts are Ralph, "the boy with fair hair," and Piggy, Ralph's chubby, wisdom-dispensing sidekick whose thick spectacles come in handy for lighting fires. Although Ralph tries to impose order and delegate responsibility, there are many in their number who would rather swim, play, or hunt the island's wild pig population. Soon Ralph's rules are being ignored or challenged outright. His fiercest antagonist is Jack, the redheaded leader of the pig hunters, who manages to lure away many of the boys to join his band of painted savages. The situation deteriorates as the trappings of civilization continue to fall away, until Ralph discovers that instead of being hunters, he and Piggy have become the hunted: "He forgot his words, his hunger and thirst, and became fear; hopeless fear on flying feet." Golding's gripping novel explores the boundary between human reason and animal instinct, all on the brutal playing field of adolescent competition. --Jennifer Hubert

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:22 -0400)

(see all 9 descriptions)

The classic tale of a group of English school boys who are left stranded on an unpopulated island, and who must confront not only the defects of their society but the defects of their own nature. Lord of the Flies remains as provocative today as when it was first published in 1954, igniting passionate debate with its startling, brutal portrait of human nature. Though critically acclaimed, it was largely ignored upon its initial publication. Yet soon it became a cult favorite among both students and literary critics who compared it to J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye in its influence on modern thought and literature. Labeled a parable, an allegory, a myth, a morality tale, a parody, a political treatise, even a vision of the apocalypse, Lord of the Flies has established itself as a true classic.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 25 descriptions

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