Book Review: Lord of the Flies by William Golding

I finished listening to this classic. I can see why it has kept its place in the best 100 novels. I’m ashamed that it has taken me this long to get around to read Lord of the Flies. Yes, I have seen the movies, but both of us know they are not the same. Inspired by the audiobook, I bought a copy for my nephew to read. I hope he finds time for reading from all the games. I’m glad he reads but older he gets the less interest he has for books. Why I bought Lord of the Flies for him was not only for the gravity of the message but also because despite there is violence it has been done out of necessity and not to glorify brutality and get more sells.

I liked the book even when the characters were a bit one-dimensional with stereotypical roles. I think such a choice from the writer is understandable considering the audience in mind and the time this was written. In a way, the simplified characters brought lightness into the book, making it easier to handle the heavy subject.

I agree with the book’s premise that we are only one step away from anarchy. That despite us having a tendency for social structures with a set of rules the will of the few can corrupt the whole system while they pursue their own personal gain. I think the book makes the whole concept appear easy. What I mean is that the gravity of the premise comes along with the story and not the other way around. Even the introduction to the dangers of group thinking and cost of individualism is well portrayed. Poor Simon. There is so much subtext in the book, and that makes it a classic worth to read. I’m afraid that we have forgotten those simple psychological mechanisms that have an influence on our societies and even on the school ground thus giving a good argument why Lord of the Flies should continue to be part of school reading programs.

But would it be so easy to descend into savagery? I’m afraid it is. One horrible mishap can derail our society into the state of anarchy where you need to defend for yourself. Our social contracts are just imaginary rules held together by a common consensus, but take away security and introduce a catastrophe and civility is just an afterthought reserved for the fools. However, the book oversimplifies things how fast and easily we break away from our noble ideas to brutality. But that is books for you. The story goes first and page count matters. Lord of the Flies is a good reminder of how fragile our contracts are and how any of us can do an awful act especially when there is a selfish leader and group thinking involved.

Thank you for reading!

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