In Lord of The Flies William Golding provides an astonishing psychological evaluation of what happens when human beings descend into savagery. Not just any human beings, but young public-school educated British boys. Read with a mixture of fascination and horror as the boyish glee of exploration and adventure turns into hunting, tribal war-paint and murder.
Ralph, Piggy, Jack and co are stranded on a desert island after a plane they are travelling in is shot down, and they find themselves without a single adult to take the lead. Lord of The Flies is a literary classic, and I’m sure most of you will know the basic story, but Golding gets inside the schoolboy mind with effortless skill (obviously rendered easier by having been one himself, but he seems very comfortable to make the regression back into childhood). The boy’s misuse of grammar is touchingly naïve:
“Your Dad don’t know, nobody don’t know”.
“Sucks to your asth-mar!”
Each character is unique and well-rounded, from the reluctant chief Ralph to Piggy, the overweight, asthmatic, spectacle-wearing figure of torment. Mild comedy meets horror when the worst happens: (Cue thoughts of “But he can’t die, he’s the token comedy fat kid!”) This is what I love about classic literature, it’s not afraid to break the modern day stereotypes of the popcorn-movie generation.
Lord of the Flies provokes deep psychological thought, which is right up my street, but perfect when you team that with William Golding’s fast-paced boy’s adventure story narrative and beautiful descriptions of a lush, untouched island, with its coral reef, wild pigs and secret thickets.
Forget any pre-conceived ideas about this being just another one of those English O-Level texts from 1983. This is a timeless story that deserves to be read and enjoyed purely for pleasure.