I’m guessing most people enjoy this book, for whatever sick reason there is to enjoy this book. Its intense violence makes it a favorite, obviously, among students of American Literature. At least we all know now that leaving British schoolboys to their own devices on a remote Pacific island is NOT a good idea. It is a bad idea.
I remember endless debates in Freshman English about the conch shell—less, I admit, about whether the symbolism was heavy-handed than about the pronunciation of “conch.” We also had to decide whether Simon was a Christ Figure, because practically every book has a Christ Figure if you’re paying close attention and want a good grade.
If Lord of the Flies is any indication, Golding had a remarkably cynical view of human nature, in that order and reason quickly give way—if we let them—to chaos and reality TV. Here are all the LotF life lessons to keep in mind for our own survival:
- Boys’ choirs are always straddling the edge of evil. Do not trust them.
- There are no monsters under the bed, in the closet, or out in the wild. Humans are the only monsters.
- Bullying can kill. Like, literally KILL, via boulder. So maybe just don’t bully anyone. Ignore that one little impulse. Otherwise you’ll grow into an unstoppable guilt factory of an adult, reckless and lonely, and we’ll all go KARMA, BITCH, and also SUCKS TO YOUR ASS-MAR. Except hopefully we won’t, because that’d be bullying too.
Is It One of the Greatest Books of All Time?
I’m not allowed to say since I’m not holding the conch shell. (But yes.)
They looked at each other, baffled, in love and hate.
We did everything adults would do. What went wrong?
We’ve got to have rules and obey them. After all, we’re not savages.
We’re English, and the English are best at everything.