Dear Blog Readers,
Recently, we read a 286-page dystopian novel titled Lord of the Flies by William Golding. The author attended Oxford University and his book Lord of the Flies was published in 1954 in London, England. It has sold millions of copies worldwide and has been translated into numerous languages.The author also received a Nobel Prize for Literature a year after Lord of the Flies was published. His skill shone through in this amazing story. The plot had one major event after another. It’s a book that easily holds your interest.
The story follows a group of boys that are stranded on a deserted, tropical island with no adults. They want to create a temporary place where they can live safely until someone comes to rescue them. The groups consists of English schoolboys all aged between 6 and 12. After finding a conch shell, they call a meeting and organize a brief government. They find jobs for everyone to do and divide the work up. To the leader, Ralph, the most important job of the group is keeping the fire and smoke signal going. He believes that will be the one thing that will be able to get them off the island. They live in crudely built shelters made of leaves and trees from the forest, and they survive off of fruits and nuts. They are able to create the safe environment they envisioned, but the little boys start to fear a horrible monster that was supposedly spotted on the island. On top of that, some of the boys think that something else is more important than the smoke signal, hunting for meat, and decide to go against the chief’s orders and go hunting instead. To satisfy their needs, some of the boys take up a life of hunting, but since the monster is out there, some of the boys are forced go out and attempt to rid the island of the terrible beast. As time passes, a group of boys start to disagree more and more with their chiefs orders. Eventually, they create a tribe of savages.
The narrative voice of this book is third person, but there are some times where a certain character’s thoughts are expressed. There are many ways we can prove this statement. Through the book, the author mostly uses proper nouns and pronouns such as, “The Savages” and “He” or “They”. He rarely included character thoughts. We liked how this kept the plot moving around from character to character. If the book was told in a different perspective, it would give the book a whole new tone. It would lead you deeper into the mindset of some of the boy. But, you wouldn’t be able to bounce from one character to another as easily. The plot would most likely be centered around one character. This would keep the reader from knowing more about several events that are happening at once. They wouldn’t know as much about the adventures of the stranded boys.
In the novel there is the main character named Ralph who is the leader of the group, and there are two other boys who (as we would call) the second most important characters named Piggy and Jack. In the book, Piggy and Jack have quite different personalities and we thought it would be interesting to compare both of these character’s actions. The first thing we noticed as we were reading was that Jack, just like Ralph, wanted to be the leader of the group and to take charge of everyone. We could tell that Jack was desperate to be considered the leader and to hold the power of being the chief. We also noticed that on the other hand, Piggy has the ideas it takes to be a good chief, but is too shy to actually want or take up the job. He doesn’t seem to have much self confidence and at some points Piggy can be cowardly and winy.
We also observed that Jack is very often irrational and rash. He is very ill-tempered and arrogant. He doesn’t follow the rules like everyone else and when he has an idea he abandons anything he is doing. Like we noticed before, Piggy is good natured, follows rules, helps the leader with no feelings of jealousy and he gives thought to any situations he is in. We can conclude that the personalities of both of the boys are completely different, and because of that difference we do start to see some conflict between the characters.
One thing we examined while reading was the character development of the main character, Ralph. The book starts off with Ralph being elected chief of the group. At this time he is very brave and powerful and a strong leader. He brings order to their world by building shelters, maintaining a fire, gathering food and calling meetings. Ralph starts to befriend Jack, but as he does this he completely ignores the one person who wants to help him. Toward the middle of the book Ralph starts to loose control of the group. Some of them refuse to do what they’re told, and Ralph realizes that Jack is different and not at all what he thought he was like, so they start to fight. Another problem is rising too. A monster called the beastie threatens the safety of the group, and little by little things starts to fall apart. While all of this is going on Ralph knows that he can depend on one person to help and support his decisions, Piggy. At the end of the book, Ralph becomes unsure and breaks down. Although he was the strong leader, all the stress that he had upon his shoulders is being let go of, but he feels so less powerful. He becomes more vulnerable and unsure of what to do especially after all he experienced after being on the island. As a character Ralph experiences many horrifying things, which we thought gave him more knowledge and made him wiser. This experience also made him realized how uncivilized and savage humans can become and what horrible things we can do.
We were struck by this passage where the author describes the the start of the boy’s routine mornings.
“The first rhythm that they became used to was a slow swing from dawn to quick dusk. They accepted the pleasures of morning, the bright sun, the whelming sea and sweet air, as a time when play was good and life was so full of hope was not necessary and therefore forgotten. Toward noon, as the floods of light fell more nearly to the perpendicular, the stark colors of the morning were smoothed in a pearl opalescence; and the heat-as though the impending sun’s height gave it momentum-became a blow that they ducked, running to the shade and lying there, perhaps even sleeping.” (Golding, 75)
This passage shows the author’s great ability to describe a simple morning. It’s astonishing how he can extend such a small and unimportant time, into such a long and beautiful description. He showed how the boys got used to their lifestyle with powerful phrases. We were captivated by this passage and wanted to read on.
If we could rate this book we would rate it a 9 out of 10. The book was interesting and had an outstanding plot and strong characters. We highly recommend it to other readers.
Julia Boffa & Emily Larkin