Lord of the Flies

June 16, 2008
By David Choi, Los Alamitos, CA

Picture a scenario of British boys stranded on an island due to a plane crash. Immediately the reader meets two main characters: Ralph, the boy with “fair hair” and a “golden body”, and Piggy, the overweight figure behind his glasses with his asthma. Piggy suggests to Ralph to blow the conch to call out the other boys. Soon, little boys appear, and another group of older boys from the school choir appear, where the reader meets another main character: Jack Merridew. Then their own little story unfolds on the island, a story of painted faces, hunting, “beastie”, human cruelty, paranoia, fear, and much more.

I was amazed by the intriguing storyline and the amount of messages that Golding had in his allegorical novel. The novel is full of original characters and interesting events that Golding uses to convey his theme: in the heart of humanity resides evil. His beliefs agree with the English philosopher Thomas Hobbes and are in stark contrast with the French philosopher Rosseau, who believed that inherent in humanity resides good, and civilization corrupts mankind. As the book progresses, the readers will take notice of each character and object and what they are symbolic of as a whole. For example, the conch represents order.

As the novel unfolds, it gets really interesting. The qualities that each character embodies increase in level, and the boys slowly drift towards savagery. Action intensifies, drama increases. Each character is unique and represents different concepts..

Beyond the level of interest, however, are of utmost importance the underlying messages that Golding conveys throughout the novel. There is a lot of analysis that can be drawn from his work, a lot of which carry important messages regarding society and humanity. The world of the boys, in essence, is a microcosm of the world we live in today. The title refers to Beelzebub, or the demon, which is reflective of dark side in humanity. Many symbols, motifs, and illustrations can be found in this novel. After reading, you will be somewhat affected, shocked, intrigued—or a combination of the above.

Ultimately, if you are interested in a great book that gets you thinking about important ideas while at the same time being very interesting, this is the book you want to get. Golding poses a poignant question: what lies at the heart of humanity?—and through this one question writes a masterpiece in literature.

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