I've put off reading this book for awhile. No reason really, I had heard good things about it, that it was full of symbolism, etc. So now, I've finally gotten around to reading it and while I do admit it was chock full of symbolism, I didn't find it particularly engrossing and even a bit dull.
After a wreck, a group of boys
twelve years and younger are stranded on an island. From the first they
are eager to make their own society without the yoke of adults while
still secretly yearning to be rescued. A boy named Ralph is made head
of this society, with Jack, a leader of a choir group turned hunters as
his somewhat second in command. He also has a somewhat adviser dubbed
Piggy who owns a pair of glasses that is the main source for creating
fire. As the boys live on the island their society starts to
deteriorate and fears make the boys do things that no one would have
ever thought them capable.
Ralph is a weird leader for the
group. He seems, in the beginning, to be more along the same lines of
personality as Jack. A bully in a way, but really just a normal boy
otherwise. Piggy is the typical picked on kid, who has aspects of him
that are important to share but are ignored by society based on
superficial reasoning. And Jack, well he's the type that's filling up
our prisons or operating under camouflage as a socio-path in the normal
world. It's just in this world he is allowed to have the savagery come
out. Ralph's experience with leading causes him to miss the
socio-pathic role, but he could have come very close if he had made a
few decisions in a different way. And then there's Simon, who's
supposed to be the enigma of the group, but who's really just a sick
little boy that is looked at differently because of his issues.
uses this book to show a number of things. The bleakness in society,
the potential for violence in anyone, and that without consequences to
rules, society could fall apart quite easily. But there were a couple
things I didn't understand. For one, I never really realized why it was
all boys that were stranded on the island, especially since they
weren't all traveling as part of the group like the choir was. Why did
they go to savagery so quickly? Especially when you consider the amount
of younger kids. And what about their feelings of home and wanting to
get back there? Surely after a week or so the fun of playing on their
own island would have abated and a depression would have set in. And
that just seems unaccounted for. While I thought Golding made some good
points about society and how it works, I just think it could have been
fleshed out more.
And the writing itself. For all the violence
and gore, I found it dull. Just the style was hard to follow because of
the way it jumped about. And while part of that can be attributed to
following the actions of young boys, it was just jarring to read and
made it easy to lose focus. And I know this book could actually be
geared to middle school and high school aged children but I wonder if
the majority have the ability to really get at all the symbolism in this
book or if they'll be so distracted by the gore that it'll be missed.
Certainly there are some very intelligent kids out there that will get
it, but not everyone is like that. Heck, I'm an adult and I probably
didn't catch half of what Golding put in there.
There are some
lessons in here, but it just wasn't the right platform for me. I didn't
like Golding's writing style and it caused me to hurry through a book
that should have time spent on it to get at the detail.
Lord of the Flies