Last month I read Lord of the Flies. This book was published in 1954, just one year after Fahrenheit 451. The books are both so different. As Golding clearly described: “The theme is an attempt to trace the defects of society back to the defects of human nature”. And it’s truly an interesting book. I’m always interested in human behavior. Why do people certain things? Why do they act like that? This clearly interests Golding as well, as he put these boys on an inhabited island. What happens when there are no grownups and not a clear set of rules? How do kids behave?
Golding describes the differences between the young (littluns) and the older (biguns) whereas the littluns are too young to understand everything and the biguns should be the leaders. The story begins with Ralph and Piggy on an island. Ralph, in my opinion, thinks he can say everything he wants hence calling Piggy ‘Piggy’. Piggy is very wise for his age but doesn’t get that recognition. Perhaps because of how he looks like, the name they all call him, or perhaps because they don’t understand him at all. The boys find a conch, a shell that can produce a loud sound. When they use the conch, more boys appear around them. Ralph and Piggy are no longer alone.
The boys discover they’re on an island and must do everything they can to get rescued. But first, they must choose a leader. Jack, the head of the choir, assumes he should be the leader. But Ralph is the one who collected all the boys together with the conch. Thus Ralph becomes the leader.
Piggy has a lot of ideas; make a fire, find shelter. But nobody really listens to him. It’s quite sad to see this. In the beginning, everything goes fine: it’s quite fun to be on an island, the littluns are having fun, everything will be alright. But without a clear set of rules, without guidance, it’s difficult to handle a big group of boys. Ralph and Jack are both quite the opposite. Ralph tries to think (with Piggy’s help) and Jack finds his animal instincts. One thing leads to the other… and what happens next… I should stop now before I spoil everything.
The actual Lord of the Flies has one of the best symbolic meanings in the book. However, I have to admit: to me, the book is more psychological (human behavior, moral) than symbolic. Although some might disagree. The good thing is that we all read and interpret books differently.
In short: I liked the story because I am quite interested in human behavior. Would things really happen this way? Well, that’s something we won’t know for sure. We all think we know how kids behave because we were once a kid ourselves. However, times change and not every kid is the same. Yes, some events are unavoidable but sometimes kids can surprise us. Let’s just hope it won’t ever happen.
Oh wauw, that was longer than I expected! My next book is Force of Nature by Jane Harper. I’m going to read the book in Dutch (for the Dutchies: VakantieBieb offers 50 free e-books during the summer holiday!) so I wonder how that’ll be. I haven’t read in Dutch in quite some time. Let’s see! Will keep you posted 🙂