Top critical review
A BOOK THAT COULD HAVE ACHIEVED SO MUCH MORE...
on December 22, 2001
Perhaps it is because of my age, I'm nearing 23, that I find this work so, to quote someone from the board, atrocious.
This book is absolutely boring and hadn't it been for my friend's reference, I would not have bought iT!!! The setting is an island; the cast is a bunch of stranded 6 to 13 year olds. The major characters are Jack Merridew (the bully), Piggy (the dweeb) and Ralph (The chief and someone in between).
Lord of the Flies is a journey of civilised minds turning savage. Everything starts off hunky dory as the children realise they have the whole island to themselves and that no adult is there to govern their behaviour. Everything begins in a civil manner: a leader is chosen (Ralph), the hunters are elected (Jack is the leader of the hunters) and priorities are set (that of making smoke so that nearby ships may spot them, and obtaining meat).
Of course, these are nascent minds deprived of a social structure, technology and a family system and so they eventually succumb to savagery.
This could have been a fantastic psychological story; one that I feel could have attracted a reader from any generation. Unfortunately, more ink is spent on giving visual descriptions of the island and rocks and reeds than it is on the actual story. Coming to the descriptions, they are fantastic and perhaps the only feature of the novel worthy of merit, though I did think sometimes that Sir Golding should have let my imagination fill in some of the bits too.
No matter how much sophistry one may use, no matter how much we may wish to incorporate Freud and Jung and whomever else, I feel the story rushed too quickly. Sir Golding did our work of visualising the island but burdened us with the responsibility of making all the important decisions regarding character developments.
Take, for example, the killing of a beast/a pig. The reader was deprived of the feelings the youngsters (Jack, Roger etc) must have gone through when they were contemplating killing a beast, skinning it, stabbing it and running the sharp tools across its throat. They are children for God sake, they wouldn't just go out there and start killing. What would have driven children to kill another animal? Not much stress was placed upon hunger, the driving force behind all of this.
This is just one example but the readers will find other examples too, as they go through the chapters.
I feel this story could have tapped into something spectacular but with 120 thousand words...maybe not. Perhaps Sir Golding had youngsters as his target audience and so I would not come into this at all...