1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Truly a Thought-Provoking Classic!, July 14 2005
I recently taught this novel to the Seniors at Tampa Bay Tech High School. When I first introduced the title, they were turned off. But somehow we got through it, and once they understood the symbolism and the theme, they got into it.
This novel is not only a classic, it is part of many high school curriculum agendas. For Hillsborough County in Florida, it is the requirement for Seniors. I even read this book as a Senior in 1989.
I have always loved this novel because I really appreciate Golding's artistry and style. He has an incredible vocabulary and yet the story flows in a very easy-to-read and simple manner. The themes are dark, which makes sense considering that the novel came out in 1954 - a very cynical time in the literary world.
In LOTF, Golding presented a story loaded with irony, symbolism, and theme. Man's dark nature, chaos and war, and the loss of innocence are the major themes that run through the novel. Golding was trying to explain that the problems in society are based on human nature, not political structures. I'm sure that Karl Marx would agree with Golding's philosophies at this point in time.
It has a good plot, even though the beginning is focused on character development. There is a lot of action, and a lot of foreshadowing elements. It's basically about a group of boys, who crash land on a deserted island during wartime, and have to survive on their own while they await rescue.
Each of the characters in the novel symbolically represent some figure in society. There's Ralph, who is the elected leader, and Jack who wanted to be the leader and gains control through manipulating the younger/weaker boys with fear and bullying tactics. The human nature conflict is best represented in the struggle for power or control that these two boys face. There is Piggy, Ralph's right-hand man, who represents Reason, Rational thought, and Civilization. Jack naturally despises Piggy. Jack's right-hand man would be Roger, who symbolizes any terrorist or warmonger. And then there is Simon, who strives for the truth, doesn't take sides and always offers to help. He is the Christ-figure in the novel representing love and faith and is "sacrificed" to the beast.
I find it very interesting how Golding poses that first we lose our faith or ability to love, and then we lose our reason. Very profound and even optimistic philosophy for such a dark look at life.
The ending is compelling and unforgettable. The ultimate philosophical question is what Golding asks through Jack's character, "Aren't there any grownups?" And perhaps Golding agrees with Ralph's answer, "No."
I highly recommend this masterpiece if you haven't read it. It's a quick and easy read, only 190 pages, and it's definitely a novel that you won't forget. It gets you thinking and makes for great philosophical discussion. And it will haunt you. Pick up a copy! Another book I need to recommend -- completely unrelated to Golding, but very much on my mind since I purchased a copy off Amazon is "The Losers' Club: Complete Restored Edition" by Richard Perez, an original, lonesome (but also funny) little novel I can't stop thinking about.