Lord of the Flies

2019-04-30T19:22:53-04:00

William Golding's Lord of the Flies is a book I was supposed to read in highschool. Evidently, I failed to do so. Now that I'm older, I've decided to allow myself a chance at redemption and gave Golding's novel another try. My father has owned a copy of this book for years, probably before I was born. He used to keep it in the back of his car—I never asked why—now his copy has fallen into my possession. Though old, it's really in pretty good condition, only a couple bent pages and rounded corners here and there.

I'll start off by saying that I really enjoyed this book and that I found the story quite compelling even though I already knew (mostly) what was going to happen. It's easy to see now why this particular novel is taught in English class, it's absolutely dripping with metaphor and symbolism and everything else needed to perform literary analysis at the 10th grade level. Without getting too dry, there's a couple key ideas that I'd like to expand upon.

Throughout the book the boys slowly lose sight of their goals. This is shown by their hair growing out, covering their eyes so they can no longer see. The only boy who never loses sight of being rescued is Piggy, who evidently is the only boy who's hair doesn't grow. The curtain that seems to appear and clouds Ralph's judgement could also be attributed to his long hair. Furthermore, the savages denounce the importance of vision by breaking and then stealing Piggy's glasses. Piggy thinks that having his glasses is what is right, while the savages believe the only value of the specs is their ability to light fire. The boys also refuse to tie their hair back; when they finally do, it is to enable their hunt. I think what led me to making this insight is the fact that Jordan Peterson has talked about the importance of sight on multiple occasions; he also has Lord of the Flies on his reading list. Even without Peterson's thoughts on this subject I think the story makes it clear that without sight (the ability to take aim), chaos ensues.

I'd also like to note that the boys' refusal—fueled by fear—to name certain individuals, admit reality of events, and visit specific areas of the island is quite similar to the use of He Who Must Not Be Named in the Harry Potter series. These actions only worsen the boys' position.

This book shows what a nightmare it is to be a boy. The narration uncomfortably cuts into Ralph and Jack, exposing their incompetency,

Ralph and Jack looked at each other while society paused about them. The shameful knowledge grew in them and they did not know how to begin confession. [...] He glanced at Ralph, who blurted out the last confession of incompetence.

their awkward progression through adolescence,

As an answer Jack dropped into the uncomprehending silence that followed it the one crude expressive syllable. Release was like an orgasm.

and their isolation from the others,

Jack looked round for understanding but found only respect.

The resulting events seem to occur naturally, slowly snowballing out of control. When things start to get bad, the boys plead, stating that they don't want to play anymore. Towards the end everything is upside down, which is exactly how the story starts: with Ralph performing handstands at any chance he gets.