Text title: Lord of the Flies
Written by William Golding
Text type: novel
Set in a time of war, Lord of the Flies by Nobel-Prize winner William Golding is a novel about a group of young British schoolboys deserted on an island after a plane crash. The story follows the boys as they figure out the best way to survive, exploring themes such as democracy, dictatorship, savagery, and civilisation. The main characters, Ralph and Jack, have different views on how things should be done, and conflict begins to start almost immediately. The conflict between the boys escalates throughout the novel, until Simon, a quiet, intelligent, civilised boy, gets tragically killed by Jack and his “savages”. The novel ends when the island is set on fire and Ralph, the last remaining sane boy is found on the beach by a naval officer.
In the novel, Golding touch on many themes, however, the most directly addressed theme is democracy and dictatorship, and he explores how these can either cause civilisation or savagery. As the boys time on the island grows longer, their grasp on society lessens and causes them to gradually move away from the old ways of democracy and towards a dictator, Jack. “The world, that understandable and lawful world, was slipping away.” This change from a democracy to a dictatorship also represented a significant loss of civilisation and in turn the boys became more and more savage. “Ralph wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of man’s heart”. The boys losing hope of returning home and losing sight of what’s important drove them to insanity and shows the dark side of human nature, even displayed through children.
This text connects to society and the real world significantly as the storyline and themes accurately depict many issues during the time the book was released in 1954. Golding wrote the novel after World War 2 and left a very strong impression at the time, however, the book still holds many valuable messages in our world today. The text can be seen as a smaller representation of our own world, where the same circumstances are put in a different situation. Golding directly reference’s society in the novel a few times, and indirectly many times. “There was a space round Henry, perhaps six yards in diameter, into which [Roger] dare not throw. Here, invisible yet strong, was the taboo of the old life”. The “taboo of the old life” is the small part of civilisation remaining with Roger, that is still subconsciously influencing him.
This text has heaps of messages to teach the reader, whether read now or 70 years ago. Golding shows the reader not only the importance of civilisation and order, but what happens in it’s absence. “Kill the pig. Cut her throat. Spill her blood.” The boys’ descent into savagery teaches the reader how essential it is to be lawful and civil, as he shows us what humanity can amount to without it.
This text doesn’t connect to my own experiences but definitely relates to my viewpoints. I believe that civilisation and order is an important part of our society as it makes things equal and clearly much more peaceful. I believe that this text is still relevant today and will be for some time as conflict and savagery is seen all around the world everyday.
I would recommend this book to anyone, as anyone is able to take whatever and as many messages out of it as they like. Not only does it convey important things about our world and society, it is a thrilling, adventurous book any age and gender can enjoy. It is deservedly an award-winning novel and definitely worth a read.