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“A word after a word after a word is power.” --Margaret Atwood

Lord of the Flies (Penguin Great Books of the 20th Century)

Lord of the Flies - William Golding I've been meaning to read this book for the longest time, but not until I found a cheap, second-hand, permabound copy of it in a bookshop in my university did I actually get around to finally doing so. I will be talking quite a lot here, so if you're not up for that, I'll give you one word: metaphors.

In this classic work by Golding, a group of British school boys get stranded on an island after their plane crashes. Very quickly, they form into one body. They elect a leader, assign hunters, and make a fire whose smoke they aimed to signal passing ships of their presence. However, little work actually gets done because the children would rather play around. Things spiral down into fear and disorder when the younger kids, the 'littluns,' start seeing the Beast. This, among other events, mark the beginning of their descent into madness. These prim and proper English schoolchildren turn into savages.

Golding traces back the problems of society to the defects of human nature and portrays the whole of it within the confines of an island, where children represent the population. The way I see it, Golding shows that humans have a natural flair for putting things together then taking them apart again. The boys--there are no girls, and this is interesting--try to govern themselves, but of course, not everyone is happy with the leadership. They challenge each other, and this takes up their time, causing them to neglect their real problem: they are stranded on an island and they are not paying attention to the fire that would mean their rescue. They fight, then they start fearing things they can't see. And when someone realizes their flaws, they start drawing blood.

I like this book primarily because I like my metaphors straight and direct to the point. I also like this book because it is a very good adventure story. Short and sweet. Not to mention violent. I disagree with the people who say it's boring.

I dislike this book because there isn't so much of a plot than there is representation of real-life situations. The island mirrors the world, only there's more mirroring than anything. Also, I don't think the characters develop--they remain the same throughout, and that's unfortunate.

But maybe that's the point. Maybe the whole island adventure is a distraction from reality, and the novel is ambitious this way.

As much as I like the metaphors, I have a few concerns:

1. No girls. Things would have been very, very different had there been girls.
2. The ending. I feel as if the rug was jerked under my feet. Not in a good way. (Again, maybe that's the point, but still.)
3. It sort of drags at times.

Overall, this book is very much worth reading. It's perfectly figurative and very well written. But if we were actually made to care about the characters, it would have been so much better.

I'm not dissing a classic, lovelies. But we're allowed to have opinions.