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Lord of the Flies (1954)

by William Golding

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
39,78662326 (3.72)1 / 1001
Following a world war, a group of school boys survives a plane crash on a deserted island and creates a hellish environment leading to savagery and murder. Two leaders--one civilized, one depraved--epitomize the forces that war eternally in the human spirit.
  1. 174
    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. 147
    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. 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. 83
    The Cement Garden by Ian McEwan (KayCliff)
  6. 30
    Friday and Robinson: life on Esperanza Island by Michel Tournier (yokai)
  7. 52
    The Beach by Alex Garland (booklove2, mcenroeucsb)
    booklove2: The Beach is like Lord of the Flies for adults, starring adults.
  8. 30
    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.
  9. 31
    Under the Dome by Stephen King (sturlington)
    sturlington: Under the Dome is an adult version of Lord of the Flies.
  10. 20
    Animal Farm by George Orwell (sturlington)
  11. 20
    The Only Ones by Aaron Starmer (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: A world without adults with some differences and similarities.
  12. 20
    Nip the Buds, Shoot the Kids by Kenzaburō Ōe (JuliaMaria)
    JuliaMaria: Kinder auf sich allein gestellt - was sagt es über die Gesellschaft aus?
  13. 54
    Robinson Crusoe [Norton Critical Edition] by Daniel Defoe (TomWaitsTables)
  14. 10
    Gone by Michael Grant (Anonymous user)
  15. 10
    Variant by Robison Wells (JenniferRobb)
  16. 10
    The Coral Island by R. M. Ballantyne (Cecrow)
  17. 10
    Queen of Stones by Emma Tennant (KayCliff)
  18. 65
    The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks (villanova)
  19. 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...
  20. 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.

(see all 31 recommendations)

1950s (11)
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1960s (122)
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English (575)  Italian (11)  Spanish (8)  French (7)  Finnish (6)  Dutch (5)  German (3)  Danish (2)  Swedish (1)  Catalan (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (621)
Showing 1-5 of 575 (next | show all)
When is a children's book not a children's book? No, no, this isn't a Christmas cracker joke I found while hoovering up. What's that? You'd rather read some Christmas cracker jokes than a carefully constructed and intelligent critique of Lord of the Flies? Well lucky for you I'd rather write some Christmas cracker jokes than a carefully constructed and intelligent critique of Lord of the Flies. However, be warned that some of the jokes below will be a review in disguise. Now let's do this thing.

Why did the fish blush?
Because the sea weed!

What do you call a man wearing paper trousers?
Russell!

What's the difference between a children's book and an adult's book?
Normally kid's book star kids, with maybe a token adult to get in the way or be the bad guy. Adult's books, conversely, almost always star adults. If you want the reader to identify with your main character you should probably have a character they can identify with, which means someone the same age. Perhaps one of the things that makes Lord of the Flies so unsettling is that it features only child characters, yet is not a children's book. Twenty five years of reading experience went out of the window as my brain tried to consolidate child characters in a worryingly adult scenario.

On which side do chickens have the most feathers?
The outside!

Who hides in the bakery at Christmas?
A mince spy!

What's brown and sticky?
A stick! And stick, incidentally, is something a consensus on this novel refuses to do. My friends on Goodreads give it a spread of four stars, three stars, and two stars. The top six reviews give it, respectively, five, one, five, one, five, and one star. The ending appears to cause a lot of the problem. And I too was torn over it. Having established that kids, left to themselves, turn into murderous brutes (basically adults), all it takes is for one disapproving adult to show up for them all to transform back into little kids. Is it a clever metaphor? Or just a lazy way to tie up the novel. I have no idea. But I quite enjoyed the journey to that tipping point.

What's furry and minty?
A polo bear!

Why is it ever more difficult to buy advent calendars?
Because their days are numbered!

And finally…

What's yellow and dangerous?
Shark infested custard!

Thank you very much.
( )
  imlee | Jul 7, 2020 |
When is a children's book not a children's book? No, no, this isn't a Christmas cracker joke I found while hoovering up. What's that? You'd rather read some Christmas cracker jokes than a carefully constructed and intelligent critique of Lord of the Flies? Well lucky for you I'd rather write some Christmas cracker jokes than a carefully constructed and intelligent critique of Lord of the Flies. However, be warned that some of the jokes below will be a review in disguise. Now let's do this thing.

Why did the fish blush?
Because the sea weed!

What do you call a man wearing paper trousers?
Russell!

What's the difference between a children's book and an adult's book?
Normally kid's book star kids, with maybe a token adult to get in the way or be the bad guy. Adult's books, conversely, almost always star adults. If you want the reader to identify with your main character you should probably have a character they can identify with, which means someone the same age. Perhaps one of the things that makes Lord of the Flies so unsettling is that it features only child characters, yet is not a children's book. Twenty five years of reading experience went out of the window as my brain tried to consolidate child characters in a worryingly adult scenario.

On which side do chickens have the most feathers?
The outside!

Who hides in the bakery at Christmas?
A mince spy!

What's brown and sticky?
A stick! And stick, incidentally, is something a consensus on this novel refuses to do. My friends on Goodreads give it a spread of four stars, three stars, and two stars. The top six reviews give it, respectively, five, one, five, one, five, and one star. The ending appears to cause a lot of the problem. And I too was torn over it. Having established that kids, left to themselves, turn into murderous brutes (basically adults), all it takes is for one disapproving adult to show up for them all to transform back into little kids. Is it a clever metaphor? Or just a lazy way to tie up the novel. I have no idea. But I quite enjoyed the journey to that tipping point.

What's furry and minty?
A polo bear!

Why is it ever more difficult to buy advent calendars?
Because their days are numbered!

And finally…

What's yellow and dangerous?
Shark infested custard!

Thank you very much.
( )
  leezeebee | Jul 6, 2020 |
“Why don’t I write a children’s story about how people really are, about how people actually behave?” asked the author of Lord of the Flies.

Indeed…

William Golding’s chronicle of the descent of Ralph, Jack and their minions into tribalism and savagery is only so horrific because deep down—without the guardrails of civilization—we know that it is true.

And here and now, watching the unrelenting rage of young protesters as they attack the icons and foundations of society, it gives me pause to wonder what kind of islands those “safe spaces” of academia actually are. ( )
1 vote mtbass | Jul 3, 2020 |
I decided to not read this book after reading an article about an obscure event when some boys actually were stranded on a small island.
https://www.theguardian.com/books/2020/may/09/the-real-lord-of-the-flies-what-ha...
  bread2u | Jul 1, 2020 |
Well thank goodness for short books. I loved The Lord of the Rings, but 1,000 plus pages is a lot to get through. This whole book felt more like a short story to me (that is not a complaint by the way) and I was able to get through it in about 2 and a half hours.

Though I liked the book (4.5 stars) I did think that ultimately the book suffered from a lack of world building. There is some discussion of a nuclear war taking place, but it didn't feel right in terms of this book. I mean if there is a nuclear war why in the world are you depositing kids on an island? It also seemed weird that there were no girls, no adults, just these boys from age 5 to at least 12 or 13 I would guess. So for me, there was a lot of suspension of disbelief going on here for me to get past that whole thing.

Reading about how initial attempts for this cadre of boys to build their own society goes to the wayside once some decide they will be hunters while others will focus more on shelter and keeping a signal fire going was fascinating. I often got the feeling we were watching an experiment and the ending sort of bore that out in a way when we get to it.

The main characters we follow in this book is Ralph (chief of the boys), Piggy (the only boy with common sense who is loathed by mostly everyone because of his size), Simon (who appears to also believe in a beast that walks in the woods like the younger kids), and Jack (who is angry that Ralph is chief and leads his group of hunters to hunt wild pig that are on the island).

I had great affection for Piggy (and am still angry that we never did find out his real name) and Simon. Piggy was the smartest of the boys, and it was gratifying to see Ralph realizing too late he was not smart to have dismissed Piggy's concerns and to have made him into a source of ridicule by the other boys. Ralph and Jack's power struggle was fascinating, especially because you can see Ralph doesn't get why Jack is jealous of him, and Piggy understands all too well.

Even though this is a short book, we can understand all of the characters motivations and Golding managed to do a great job with all of them, especially Ralph. Ralph is the high school football player who realizes that after high school he's not top dog anymore. Ralph just figured that out a lot earlier in this book.

The writing worked and Golding did a great job with dialogue though often at times I would get a bit confused on who was speaking. I think that was during any of the fighting/argument scenes.

The flow was not great, I think that's because at the end of each chapter it was like, mini-endings. Then you would get to the next chapter and the book would feel like it was starting all over again. This and the world building were honestly the only problem I had with the entire book. It felt spotty in places and then it felt like we were at an ending and then nope, I would see more pages ahead for me.

The setting of the island didn't make a lot of sense to me at all. I am still wondering how big it was. I think that Piggy had the right idea at first and the boys should have been focused on food, water, and shelter. But heck, I have a hard time trying to make my cat understand that no she can't jump on people when they come to visit, I can't imagine trying go instill discipline into about 20 boys of various ages to do chores.

The ending was very bleak and you are definitely left with the sense that all of these boys are now going to be different and haunted by what they did and what they let happened on their island. ( )
  ObsidianBlue | Jul 1, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 575 (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 (36 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Golding, WilliamAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Akyol, ÖzcanForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Damsma, HarmTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Davidson, AndrewCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Déry, TiborTranslatorsecondary 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
King, StephenIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kinkead-Weekes, MarkIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Miedema, NiekTranslatorsecondary 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.
The urge to put things into categories seems to satisfy some deep human need and in this matter at least, critics and historians of literature are very human people indeed. (Introduction)
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.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

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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)

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