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Lord of the Flies (1954)

by William Golding

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
43,83469026 (3.71)1 / 1057
The classic study of human nature which depicts the degeneration of a group of schoolboys marooned on a desert island.
  1. 184
    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. 148
    The Giver by Lois Lowry (FFortuna)
  3. 71
    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.
  4. 83
    The Cement Garden by Ian McEwan (KayCliff)
  5. 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.
  6. 40
    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.
  7. 40
    Animal Farm by George Orwell (sturlington)
  8. 30
    Friday and Robinson: life on Esperanza Island by Michel Tournier (yokai)
  9. 30
    Nip the Buds, Shoot the Kids by Kenzaburō Ōe (JuliaMaria)
    JuliaMaria: Kinder auf sich allein gestellt - was sagt es über die Gesellschaft aus?
  10. 52
    The Beach by Alex Garland (booklove2, mcenroeucsb)
    booklove2: The Beach is like Lord of the Flies for adults, starring adults.
  11. 31
    Under the Dome by Stephen King (sturlington)
    sturlington: Under the Dome is an adult version of Lord of the Flies.
  12. 20
    The Only Ones by Aaron Starmer (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: A world without adults with some differences and similarities.
  13. 20
    The Coral Island by R.M. Ballantyne (Cecrow)
  14. 10
    Variant by Robison Wells (JenniferRobb)
  15. 10
    Queen of Stones by Emma Tennant (KayCliff)
  16. 10
    Gone by Michael Grant (Anonymous user)
  17. 54
    Robinson Crusoe [Norton Critical Edition] by Daniel Defoe (TomWaitsTables)
  18. 11
    Here (away from it all) by Polly Hope (SomeGuyInVirginia)
  19. 11
    The Maze Runner by James Dashner (wordcauldron)
    wordcauldron: Maze Runner has a feeling of Lord of the Flies, except it's a controlled experiment and, therefore, orchestrated.
  20. 00
    A Luminous Republic by Andrés Barba (stretch)

(see all 32 recommendations)

1950s (19)
Read (44)
1960s (263)

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English (636)  Italian (11)  Spanish (10)  French (8)  Finnish (6)  Dutch (5)  Catalan (4)  German (3)  Danish (2)  Swedish (2)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Hebrew (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  All languages (690)
Showing 1-5 of 636 (next | show all)
Have to confess I’ve never read this, so I thought I’d listen to it as a compromise. Owing to its reputation, I expected a far more brutal story. No doubt much is lost owing to what once was shocking pales in significance as time progresses. Still, undoubtedly a classic and deserving of such status. ( )
  SharonMariaBidwell | May 10, 2022 |
I remember reading this as a child, and it's interesting how much I do and don't remember.......I knew Simon went a tad peculiar, but never remember what happened next. I also thought something else happened to Piggy (whose real name we never know), and a lot earlier in the book. [return][return]Much of the book is now iconic - the painted children, the hunting of the pigs, the conch, the rules versus the return to savage.
  nordie | Apr 18, 2022 |
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 ( )
  Bookslesstravelled | Apr 15, 2022 |
I doubt there’s anything to say about this book that hasn’t been said already, and by more informed people than me, so I’ll keep it brief. It was a reread for me, I first read Lord of the Flies at school (like most people). I enjoyed it a lot second time round, despite knowing what was going to happen. It’s gripping, chilling and most of all convincing. It’s also admirably brief, packing a huge amount of memorable incident and insight into such a short novel.
The edition I read had a decent intro from Stephen King, who clearly admires the book greatly. Although apparently not enough to emulate its brevity. ( )
  whatmeworry | Apr 9, 2022 |
Most people have probably read this in their school years and probably found it an unforgettable book and experience. We've read many books in jr. high, high school and college, but few will have remained with us as vividly as this one. Why? Because it reveals to us the self within us that our life is spent suppressing, denying and wanting to not believe it could be within us. We ALL have that 'self' buried within us and it is only 'by the grace of god' that we keep it there.
Yet we know that the guards at the WW II death camps, the Khmer Rouge, the Red Guards and the armies of Joseph Stalin who "purged" millions were not evil, sick people; they were otherwise normal people who found themselves doing things they abhorred because deep within them was that very thing Lord of the Flies reminds us of: we all have the capacity for savagery.
For me, reading The Lord of the Flies for the second time made me admire the book even more than a younger me possibly could have. No longer overwhelmed by the plot and what it reveals about the inner me and the inner you, I found myself entranced with the genius of Golding's skills. He understood so much about the nature of individuals and the nature of groups. He knew how hard it is for one good man to stand up against the pressures of groups of regular men misled. Normal young people became Nazis because Hiltler had no single truly good man with leadership skills to stand against him, and even the religions that should have provided moral compasses failed in their jobs.
Golding understood that societies need rules and controls. He understood that achieving the common good, whether it is rescue from a far-away island or social isolation in the time pf pandemic, requires people of insight, wisdom and a higher morality to influence others and to support the rule of law. A moral leader focuses on long term goals led Americans to sacrifice and come together to prevail in WW II; an immoral leader supports polarization and self-interest as his nation faces a pandemic.
Golding understood the importance of the symbols of power, authority and governance. In this novel, the conch, an ordinary seashell, became the symbol of that power and both advisories, Ralph and Jack, understood its power.
What struck me most about the book really occurred in Chapter 7. It was here that I most saw the parallel to today's polarized political atmosphere. There are those who will always pursue short term goals, short term solutions to temporary problems and authoritarian and even amoral leadership. They are the majority, actually. Then there are the others, the Ralphs and Samanderics who know that to achieve long term goals, the goals that will eliminate future short term problems, requires sacrifice and discipline. The former group lights a fire for temporary use and then ignores its potential while the latter group supports "lighting a beacon" for future success. Probably the greatest irony of the book is how the smoke of the beacon played so heavily in the ending of the book.
Another thing that I understood better after re-reading this novel is what classics and true literary fiction offer that is not found in lesser works. These superior works understand the psychology of individuals and the psychology of groups. Few novelists delve into the souls, inner thoughts, motivations and influences that have formed their characters, but the great authors do. And the great writers understand that the psychologies of the individuals become parts of a mass psychology, even a mass hysteria, when individuals become parts of a group. That 'mass psychology' is very different from the psychologies of the individual member of the group.
Chapter 7 of Lord of the Flies, Tolstoy's description of the Napoleonic sacking of Moscow in War and Peace, and Twain's description of the lynch mob in Huckleberry Finn are just a few of the places genius authors rise about their contemporaries. These are the measures of true 5 star books!
( )
  PaulLoesch | Apr 2, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 636 (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 (85 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Golding, Williamprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Akyol, ÖzcanForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Buehler, JenniferContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Carvalho, AdamsCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Damsma, HarmTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Davidson, AndrewCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Déry, TiborTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Donini, FilippoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Epstein, E. L.Afterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Forster, E. M.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gregor, IanIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Grieken, Roderik vanAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jessurun d'Oliveira, H.U.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kinkead-Weekes, MarkIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lowry, LoisForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lowry, LoisAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Miedema, NiekTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Niepokólczycki, WacławTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Perkki, JuhanaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Smolka, DieterHerausgebersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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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.
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.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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The classic study of human nature which depicts the degeneration of a group of schoolboys marooned on a desert island.

No library descriptions found.

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.

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