Today I wanted to talk about 'Lord of the Flies' by William Golding. Written in 1954, this is seen as Golding's iconic novel, studied often at GCSE level in schools. Over time, it has become an iconic British quintessential novel. Golding as a person often reminds me of some wizardly magician when looking at photos of him, he has this enchanting look about him. Much like 'Lord of the Flies', there is something enchanting about a group of school boys ending up on a beach in the middle of nowhere.
I unfortunately never got to read 'Lord of the Flies' at school, instead I had to study 'Of Mice and Men' by John Steinbeck. Whilst I did enjoy Steinbeck's novel, reading Golding's novel made me partly wish that I had studied something as challenging as 'Lord of the Flies' is instead. I say it is challenging on numerous levels, there is a lot of ambiguity with the language, a conch shell becomes a metaphor for the group situation, boys become monsters, and so forth. It is an allegorically challenging novel, the reader must subvert their eyes to the deeper themes of the book. The main theme that Golding tries to convey, is the challenging notion of trying to govern your own society, the impact of human relationships and finally, the abuse of power. To study this at a GCSE level (15-16) I would say is highly brave!
To try and dissect this novel would be a huge undertaking; I'm going to only give my personal opinions towards the book. So if you are looking for a highly analytical overview there are scholars who can give a better study of the novel. This will be a simple, straight forward review of how I personally found the novel.
Reading the novel for the first time at twenty one seemed more challenging than I thought it would have been, what I thought would have a straightforward novel, opened up to be more complex, more challenging as noted above. The whole time I felt the novel to chug forward, in a wash of description and a complex narrative. It was a novel I liked, but not necessarily loved. There are some parts which become very complex, and require a lot of thought to pick apart to understand the meaning.
From the beginning I immediately felt a sense of apathy for the character Piggy, Piggy is easily seen as the weak link within the group. The characters of Jack and Ralph are central leaders to the group, they are the joint leaders; there is also the characters of Roger and Simon. Altogether these are the main characters of the book, other than the collective "littuns". I enjoyed the intimacy of having so few characters within the book, allowing the sole focus to go on these characters, rather than having flimsy two dimensional characters.
As mentioned before, the amount of imagery within the novel is outstanding. Everything from the detail of the jungle, and the mood of the characters goes into descriptive detail. It's an incredible talent that Golding has, he manages to cast a spell over the book,and drawing the reader into this mystic world. In short, the imagery is the biggest reason to read the book in all honesty! Yes, the characters are well constructed, and the story does detail the events well. Golding's real strength though lies in this fantastic scope of description. At some points I had to really pick out what Golding was trying to convey, and it only makes you appreciate it more. I would suggest you submerse yourself in it as much as possible!
Overall, it was a book I enjoyed for the richness of imagery and for the narrative which directed me along the arch of the story. However, I'd suggest advance at this with caution, because of it's complex metaphors! Please let me know what you think down below!