I guess I finished this one faster than I’ve expected, but it really is a page turner and plus, it isn’t all that long. And I have to admit, that I was a bit fooled by the first chapter and the ideas I had about the book before I started it. I thought it was the adventurous story of some boys on a deserted island and it seemed okay, because I kinda like these kind of stories. But as I raced through the pages, I realized that this is so much more than that. And I have to admit that this is the first book that ever gave me goose bumps. I guess it was due to the message of the story, something so unbelievable, yet so real. But let’s start at the beginning.
As I said, the book starts by presenting a group of English boys that get stranded on a deserted island due to a plane crash. The boys are alone, with no adults around and at first they really enjoy the situation, like any kid would do 🙂 . But even so, they do make mature decisions, for instance making a fire so they can be spotted. But as time passes and they are still not saved, their manners start to fade and instinct kicks in. And that was when things started to get a bit scary.
The kids start to realize that they are alone and unprotected and start to fear monsters that come out of various places. The older ones, especially Ralph, the leader, and Jack, the leader of the hunters, try to preserve order, both in their own ways. The two boys represent different values, different kinds of power, and we can feel the rivalry from the start and know that it will end in some kind of fight between them. Jack is the representative of brute force, and is drawn to the wild side by becoming a hunter. Ralph, on the other hand, remains the mature one, listening rather to common sense, than to instinct.
The fight between them gets more fierce when Jack decides to form his own tribe and most of the boys leave with him. Ralph, his only concern being the fire, goes after them and that night something terrible happens. I couldn’t believe my eyes while I was reading. The boys, driven by fear and animal instinct, attack and kill Simon, one of their own, believing he was the monster coming after them.
The day after, they try to convince themselves that they didn’t commit the crime. That it didn’t happen. And that seemed very sad to me, in some way. They were scarred by what they have done and they chose to forget it ever happened. But this just made things worse.
Jack’s tribe, hiding their faces under a mask of paint, gradually lose all their humanity, killing Piggy, then in the end, hunting for Ralph with the unsaid, but clearly seen intention of killing him too. But due to the now burning forest, the boys are spotted and rescued by a naval officer.
The ending is a bit… I don’t really know what the right word is, but it made me think. The fact that the officer thought they were only playing a game in contrast with the truth, and the way Ralph cries for losing the innocence of a child made my skin crawl. It was just too much.
And as I said, the story seems strange, unbelievable, but so real in the same time. Because we all have that wild side, that survival instinct that can make us do unimaginable things. But the violence and viciousness isn’t something we want to call our own. But I guess it may be in anyone of us, we just learn to diminish it, to tone it down, and it is actually quite believable that in some situations it can surface. And that is really scary.
The title, as well as the image of the Lord of the Flies, refers to that particular something within the boys that made the decline from educated schoolboys to savages possible. In Simon’s hallucination, the pig head tells him that they were the ones who created the “Beast” and that it is a part of them.
I have to say that I was really shocked by this book and it really made me think about the darker sides of the human nature, and it scares me to think that we are so close to becoming no more than animals. Anyway, I would recommend it to everyone, because I believe that sometimes we need something like this to reevaluate things a little.
If you want to read it online, you can find it here: Lord of the Flies
That’s all for now, next I’ll be talking about “The Spire” also by William Golding (both novels are in the same book 😛 ). And since tomorrow is New Year’s Eve, I hope everyone will have a great time, and once again I wish you a Happy New Year!