Lord of the Flies by William Golding Part 1

Lord of the flies begins with young boys whose plane crashed on a mysterious island. The first shocking aspect of their lives is how terribly rude they are to one if their fellow stranded boys, Piggy. On the first day on the island, Piggy meets Ralph, and tells him a secret. Piggy reveals that the boys at his old school called him “Piggy” and he hated it. Ralph, however, thought this was hysterical, so the name caught on. As the reader, we don’t even learn Piggy’s real name, which further helps us feel pity for Piggy. The boys are constantly cruel to poor Piggy, yet somehow Piggy takes it. They dismiss his ideas, push him around, make fun of him. The worst part is, he wears glasses. The only reason the boys have fire is because of Piggy’s glasses. They are able to cook their food, keep warm, and signal passing ships with the fire’s smoke. What do they do to thank him? Attack him and cause his glasses to break. His treatment is truly appalling and quite telling of the harsh and unforgiving natures of the other boys.

The landscape of the island is extremely important, however as the reader, I am struggling with imagining it. I would have loved to see a map on the inside cover, like so many books have. There are numerous important spots where the book does not explain, for example, where the fire mountain is compared to the beach, or how the lagoon connects with the ocean. In general, whenever a new location is introduced, I am completely lost and tend focus my attention to trying to understand where the people are, rather than understanding the story. Here, the story loses its rhythm and ability to transport me to the island.

Overall, however Lord of the Flies is well driven, and a true psychological thriller. It’s quite enticing, and I appreciate that is stays interesting and never falls dead, something that even the greatest of books sometimes struggle with.

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One response to “Lord of the Flies by William Golding Part 1

  1. lenawehn3

    Part 2-
    Lord of the Flies really begins to come together in the second half of the book. While the general geography of the island is still a mystery to me, everything makes sense trough the novel, and the main aspects are revealed.

    The boys on the island shock me by splitting apart. Instead of unity and cooperation, Jack becomes fueled by the need for power, while the originally appointed leader, Ralph leads with a clear, logical mind. After a bitter fight, Jack starts his own tribe, consisting of his “hunters”. Jack has given into the primal, savage-like instinct the island draws out of the boys. The transformation from good, english boys to lethal creatures is marked by the new face paint leader Jack and his followers sport. They cover their faces in white, red, and green tribal and animal esque markings. They are cruel and unforgiving, don’t share their food, and attack poor Piggy to steal is necessary glasses.

    Ralph, on the other hand, stays quite level headed, considering the circumstances. He focuses on his fire, the most important thing on his mind at all times, since fire means smoke, smoke means signaling, and signaling means rescue. Ralph keeps a contained, and monitored fire at all times, while running the tribe of boys, and ever after the groups splits, it is still his main priority, truly showing the logical mind Ralph has. As I said, Jack however morphs into a savage, killing machine, that only cares about the fire to cook his meat, just like an animal.

    At the end of the novel, Piggy is killed by Jack’s tribe. The devastating death of Piggy to Ralph lead him to flee, and hid out in the forest. After being forced out of his hiding spot by a large fire by Jack, Ralph runs. His only real chance of survival is to run from Jack and his tribe, who will most certainly kill him.

    A moment to talk about the killing sprees of Jack and his men:
    After breaking the barrier between feeling remorse killing a pig, and struggling to take another animal’s life, and mercilessly hunting, surrounding, and torturing to death, Jack and his hunters become true beasts. The Lord of the Flies represents the savages that the boys turn into, and how truly crazy and deranged they end up, as a result of being alone on an uninhibited, wild island. During a feast, the Jack’s boys become true lunatics, working themselves into frenzy during a storm brewing, then, as Simon exits the forest, they see him, a shadowy figure, and believe it is the Lord of the Flies (really the horrible, savage human nature, and the deepest fears of the boys, brought out and depicted as the most terrifying thing on the island-thought to be a physical beast attacking the boys) which has been “hunting” them (Still a figment of their hyper-aware imaginations). They rip into Simon, proving the brutes that they are. Despite his cries for help and pleads with them to let him go since he is their friend, they actually murder him, leaving his remains to drift away. The boys are revealed to be monsters, as the effects of the island and the inner beast, known as the Lord of the Flies is demonstrated.

    Back to the death of Piggy and Ralph’s last attempts at avoiding Jack’s wrath:
    Since the loss of his devoted follower and friend, Piggy, Ralph was forced to run from Jack, who ended up with a following of all the boys, leaving Ralph to fend for himself. The ability of Jack to persuade all the boys to follow him with tactics of fear, torture, and lies is quite telling of how the mind works. The deception and cruelty of Jack somehow draws in more than the level-headedness of Ralph. After smoking Ralph out, Ralph runs until he cannot run anymore, and finally collapses. Ralph’s pursuers are hot on his tail, and knows time has run out for him. Ralph, however ends up at the feet of a naval officer, who saw the smoke from the large fire used to attempt to kill Ralph rather than the controlled and observed fires put on by Ralph. The irony in the effects of the fire (reason vs power and fear) wrap up the book perfectly.

    Luckily the boys are rescued (in the ironic fire), and just barely escape the mental tricks of the Lord of the Flies before lunacy is irreversible.

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