Lord of the Flies eReader by William Golding
Click Here to Download the Book William Golding's compelling story about a group of very ordinary small boys marooned on a coral island has become a modern classic. At first it seems as though it is all going to be great fun; but the fun before long becomes furious and life on the island turns into a nightmare of panic and death. As ordinary standards of behaviour collapse, the whole world the boys know collapses with themâ€”the world of cricket and homework and adventure storiesâ€”and another world is revealed beneath, primitive and terrible. Lord of the Flies remains as provocative today as when it was first published in 1954, igniting passionate debate with its startling, brutal portrait of human nature. Though critically acclaimed, it was largely ignored upon its initial publication. Yet soon it became a cult favorite among both students and literary critics who compared it to J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye in its influence on modern thought and literature. Labeled a parable, an allegory, a myth, a morality tale, a parody, a political treatise, even a vision of the apocalypse, Lord of the Flies has established itself as a true classic.
Reviews This book is familar to school-children all across the land and rightly so since it is one of the best books published in the twentieth century. Looking at reviews by my friends and other users as well I see the usual assortment of criticisms that any good book attracts: most of these are so mysterious that I won't even bother commenting on them. One of the most common is that the book is 'pessimistic': I have read the book twice and I am still unsure as to how people come to that conclusion. A lot of people (well-educated ones among them) have this idea that Golding was a pessimist who wrapped his poisonous message up in a famous novel: that humans are terrible and that they invariable crumble under pressure. This is a pretty egregious misunderstanding as far as I can see: the book is a work of art and as far as the 'message' goes, it is a warning of the possibilities of social collapse: nothing more. The only problem with the book is that it is so prodigiously brilliant that it has over-shadowed the rest of Golding's equally exemplary work. For example, according to GoodReads, Lord of the Flies has had 125, 908 ratings whilst his next most popular book The Inheritors (just as good as L of the F) has had a measly 180 ratings. People simply read this book, make a pompous judgement on it and never read anything else that he wrote. This is a real shame because he didn't win the Nobel Prize for writing 'Lord of the Flies': he won it for his work as a whole. Unfortunately, their is no way to avoid the fact that his other work is never going to escape from the shadow of this one novel published early in his writing career.
I read this on the tail of Catcher in the Rye as both were books I'd never read even though most people I know read them in school. Perhaps I was colored by the comparison, since I really didn't like Catcher in the Rye, but on critical consideration Golding's novel seems to be written for many ages at once. The story is lively and engaging, drawing in young readers, and providing easy escapism for an older audience (I read the entire book in one afternoon). However, there are two different voices in the novel. There is a child-like narration of events that is overlaid with a more mature interpretation. One of the things I particularly like about the novel is that where Golding uses clever imagery and subtle intentions, he takes the time to explain them. Art is a reflection of the viewer (or reader), and I am firmly of the belief that trying to elicit a "common" interpretation of a piece of literature is an exercise in futility. The reader should be allowed to take away whatever message he finds. If the author's goal is to make a point or deliver a specific message, it is his responsibility to make this clear, rather than expecting the reader to interpret his symbolism and intentions exactly as he would like (I'm looking at you, Hawthorne). Soapboxing aside, this is a lovely book. I can easily see how it would appeal to younger readers, and yet it still carries weight and meaning for adults. An admirable feat and well deserving of the accolades it has earned.
I was utterly disappointed when reading Conrad's 'Heart of Darkness', although it is still a good book. 'Lord of the Flies' is what I thought 'Heart of Darkness' would be. I like most people have seen the film, and thought yes
'man is a savage beast at heart, yeah, yeah, get it, etc'. NO! NO! You didn't! The books understatement of horror is very subtle, the fact that you can finish this book thinking man is constructed to behave and children if not taught can become savage. No! No! The children are savage because their parents are too! This is set during the World War II, there are subtle hints that the plane crash may have been caused by the atomic blast over Hiroshima (However, this may be my reading of the book!). Moments of cruelty and savagery are at the beginning, and permeate the entire book. 'Piggy' as a symbol of the rational, intellect, logic, etc, speaks common sense, order, yet is ignored, jeered, then finally brutally killed. The fit Simon endures while confronted with what appears to be the 'beast', or the 'Lord of the Flies', the stick sharpened on both sides, the chanting, the breakdown of order, the horror, the horror ... This book is now one of my favourites, and do not underestimate it. Read it closely and think upon it, it sends shivers down the spine. A spine that once belonged to a savage and can so easily be once again.
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