About the book in general
I’ve finished reading the book now which though wasn’t as easy as I expected after having read the first chapter. The pages really claimed my attention and concentration which was streneous but simultaneously very good because I was much more immersed in the story than I often am. It’s one of the few books I read in their “native language” but I think I should do so more often because the original message isn’t falsified by translation. I definitely liked the book a lot because it’s imaginative, thrilling, instructive and interesting at the same time. To me, Simon is the most mysterious and interesting character in the book which is verified by his role when he faces the Lord of the flies.
About Golding’s spelling style
I think that Golding is a fantastic author because he manages to describe situations in a way that the reader’s fantasy can already guess the consecutive plot before something happens and this makes the whole story terribly exciting. He knows how to captivate his readers and although the material of the story (boys on an isolated island without adults) doesn’t seem very inventive, new and suspenseful, he creates a fetching story which keeps the reader busy also for the time after having read the book. Golding also wrote about his novel and a few sentences express exactly what impresses me so much about the book: “The fabulist is a moralist. He cannot make a story without a human lesson tucked away in it. [...] By the nature of his craft then, the fabulist is didactic, desires to inculcate a moral lesson. People do not much like moral lessons. The pill has to be sugared, has to be witty or entertaining, or engaging in some way or another. [...] If the pill is not sufficiently sugared it will not be swallowed.” I am convinced that Golding’s pill is sugared enough. You get the moral of Lord of the flies but you aren’t annoyed or bored in any time. In my opinion, Golding absolutely manages to fulfil his one expectations of a “good reading” with Lord of the flies.
About the chapters
At the end, I also want to tell you the headings of each chapter because I really liked them due to their imagery and of course also because they give a very short and simple overview. I will copy them as they’re originally written.
1. The Sound of the Shell Arrival on the island, the conch, Ralph as chief
2. Fire on the Mountain First assembly, rules, signal fire on top of the mountain
3. Huts on the Beach Building of shelters, first conflicts, Simon’s special role is striking
4. Painted Faces and Long Hair Begin to become savages, littluns torture each other, hunting game becomes serious
5. Beast from Water Serious problems between Ralph and Jack, Ralph wants to give up, littluns scared of beast out of the water
6. Beast from Air Dead parachutist scares them a lot, no fire on the mountain anymore
7. Shadows and Tall Trees Struggle for authority between Ralph and Jack, they see the “beast” on the mountain
8. Gift for the Darkness Escalation of competition between Ralph and Jack, Jack separates from the group, others follow, head of the sow as gift
9. A View to a Death Simon is killed after he had verified the “real beast”, Jack’s tribe is savage, incantations
10. The Shell and the Glasses Ralph remains with three biguns, Jack’s tribe steals Piggy’s glasses, hard fight
11. Castle Rock Violent fight between Jack and Ralph, Piggy is killed by Roger
12. Cry of the Hunters The savages hunt Ralph over the whole island, they set island on fire, rescue by ship
About the topics and ideas the book wants to convey
Being faced with the problem of survival, the boys try to form a responsible democratic society which, however, degenerates into anarchy, violence and terror. I collected different statements, quotations and also my personal interpretation.
Lord of the flies reveals the potentiality of evil in any society and shows the end of innocence and the darkness of man’s heart.
Lord of the flies has been described as an adventure story or fantasy, a frightening parody, a parable, fable or allegory of symbolic value which represents important philosophical, political and psychological issues of today. (Dieter Smolka)
In addition to the main theme there is the theme “Fear of the Unknown”, because the boy’s fear of the unknown leads to their fear of the beast. Another key issue is the “Loss of Identity”. The boys loose their individual identity when the older children just become known as the “biguns”, and the younger become known as the “littluns”. They are not known by their names anymore, but just as a whole group. When the hunters paint their faces and kill pigs, they are losing their individualism, and becoming part of a group mentality of savagery. Two twins, named Sam and Eric, “combine” personalities as “SamnEric.” (as I also commented before). They no longer are known as two separate individuals, but as one person who can no longer separate Sam and Eric.
Lord of the flies shows how easily we forget our human origin and civilized habits and begin to torture others just because we fear for own life. It reminds us to retain humanity, care and love. We also mustn’t forget the dangers of political dictatorship and systems in general because in many countries democracy is still very weak. The fight between Ralph and Jack can be transmitted into the clash between democracy and fascism. The boys on the island actually do the same as the adults in their atomic war! – Fighting against each other instead of staying together and become stronger. We should learn to control ourselves or at least our selfish aims, to enjoy the fantastic life we can live here and to estimate friendship and relationships. In my opinion, Lord of the flies has to be seen as a critical novel towards society and politics. (Caro)
About parallelism to Ballantyne’s The Coral Island
Golding both parallels and parodies the classic adventure story The Coral Island (-> see link earlier). Three boys are shipwrecked somewhere in the South Seas on an uninhabited coral island. Ballantyne also raises the problem of evil but whereas Golding finds evil in the boys’ own nature, it comes from the outside world in Ballantyne’s story. Maybe Golding really wanted to create theses parallels and differences, maybe not. But that he’s aware of them is shown by his own naming in form of the naval officer at the very end of the story.
About the Lord of the flies
“Lord of the flies” is a literal translation of the word Beelzebub. But I think that the Lord of the flies isn’t a symbol for the Devil or anything else, but an object onto which the boys project the fear and hatred and evil that aren’t supernatural but rather a part of themselves and of human nature generally. When Simon approaches the Lord of the flies he insists that it’s no more than a pig’s head on a stick. The episode is a symbolic representation of the conflict between the highest and lowest impulses in man. The Lord of the flies is explaining that there is no sense in hunting and killing the beast. It answers the question why the civilization of the boys is a failure. The destructive element is in the boys themselves. The story needs the Lord of the flies to teach the reader what the real problems of the boys are.
The novel is rather pessimistic and I sometimes thought that it’s quite noncredible and exaggerated how the boys act.
There are no women in the story. Why did they obviously only rescue British school BOYS from nuclear world war???
For me, it was a bit too bloody and violently described.
Concerning the plot, I discovered a short cartoon which shows quite well what happens. I’m sorry that it’s a bit too small, but maybe you can enlarge it on your computer.
I think it’s quite good for everybody who doesn’t want to read the whole plot ;).
I also found a quite good trailer to one of the movies which can be seen under this link:
Thanks a lot for reading my blog, I hope you enjoyed it! Caro