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Flies Still Buzz Almost Half a Century Later

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Even though William Golding’s novel The Lord of the Flies in the 1960s, it still retains enormous prevalence today and remains a staple in high school curriculums. However, it is the latter reason, not the former, that a tenth grade honors English class read the book.
In the three days following the completion of the book the class participated in five Socratic seminars discussing different aspects of the book in association with modern day society and their own lives. Yet the vast majority of the participants seemed unable to deliver any reasons why the story is pertinent. In fact, they viewed the story more as an isolated incident rather than a theory about human nature transcendent through all places and times. Here are a few samples of their rationalizations:
“They’re boys.”
“We’re older.”
“It was the 1960s.”
“We’re not in the jungle or on an island.”
“We’re not hunting pigs.”
As the above samples of dialogue reveal, the students participating in these discussions seem unwilling to give any thought to the matter. Their reasoning was elementary and lacked a support. They did not argue that The Lord of the Flies has no application in the modern-day world, rather spouted basic excuses to defend a combination of societal brainwashing and an inability to see the darker side of themselves or their friends, both a part of an effect growing amongst members of the population that makes seeing the negative aspects of their personalities impossible and almost sinful.
The problems facing a possible reality in the fiction were intensified by the class’s inability to identify traits that make a person into a character such as Jack, representing the most animalistic and uninhibited side of human nature, and in fact attempted to exonerate his from blame. They also removed guilt from a mass murder participated in by almost all of the boys, trying to justify clearly wrong actions with similar excuses to a toddler caught breaking the rules. While most of them skirted around the issues, one participant provided concrete examples of why they were innocent, drawn from her own life and her own past excuses, along with presenting a clear bias.
Half of the class even denied the presence of a scapegoat person or persons in the school or social divisions within the school, more commonly referred to as cliques, then proceeded to claim the vicious actions by one group to another were unrealistic, simply the invention of entertainment products. The most popular example they cited was the movie “Mean Girls”. This extended view extended to all the actions which take place in the novel as a whole, refusing to even discuss the possibility of such horror in society, blatantly ignoring the teacher every time she attempted to turn the conversation to this subject. They also possessed an inability to comprehend the character of Simon, the only character undeniably representing good. Instead the elected option was making fun of him, Piggy, and the “littleuns” at regular intervals.
So what precisely is the importance of this? The shock should come not from a lack of comprehension of literature or the specific work taught in class, as many education professionals perceive it to be, but rather from the impossibly of taking a closer look at the character of man, or more specifically a person’s own character. In this day and age with numerous crises facing the globe, the youth of this nation should be prepared to look upon themselves and the society each one will improve, keep static, or worsen. Evil and fault exist in every human. Denying their existence makes them impossible to conquer. The illusion of perfection and an eternal goodness in every person does not exist. This must be understood before it can be conquered. Denial will only deepen the sinkhole that the human race finds itself in at this very moment.

All of the participants of the discussions will be eligible to vote by the next presidential election. As teenagers they are already making quintessential decisions affecting the wellbeing of others every day. In a short matter of years they will be considered adults by the rest of the population, working and making even more important decisions branching out to even more people, producing greater ripples in effect. In the current state displayed by these seminars, a definite portion of the immerging future can only function when led, acting as sheep, and they will follow whatever they become use to accepting as the norm without any moral concern. The necessity is the need to face truth. The reality is a barricade in front of this way of thinking. Not only the youth, but society as a whole, needs to stop believing in some dark monstrous incarnation of all evil in society slinking through the trees and instead search for their own Lord of the Flies lurking deep inside them and eliminate its power.




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