Book #03. Lord of the Flies by William Golding

There must be a list of books that serves as the Code in the world of readers.

I somehow skipped Lord of the Flies in my high school . I read Brave New World, The Old Man and The Sea,  Fahrenheit 451, and Outsider, but never had a chance to grab William Golding’s Nobel-prize winning classic until now. I had always wondered what made the story about a group of young boys stranded in an island as so serious and provoking as it is widely known.

The story is particularly interesting for illuminating the essentiality and complexity of ‘leadership.’ The thematic shift of power from Ralph to Jack somewhat reminded me of the historical revolutions I used to read about (like Stalin slaying Trotsky, Robespierre overthrowing Louis XVI, and many other famous instances of revolting, rivaling and usurping), but the narrator of Lord of the Flies grasps strict objectivity (maybe it’s the only eye of an ‘adult’) compared to the history recorders in the past who blindly followed the victor’s side.

I think it is purely the ingenuity of the author to derive such profoundly grown-up themes of the duality of humanity (good vs. evil, reason vs. instinct, order vs. chaos, civilization vs. nature) from the behaviour of youngsters. In Lord of the Flies, Ralph, Piggy, Jack, Roger, and the littluns act and behave in a way that is not peculiar to an ordinary middle-school classroom, where there exist often invisible, sometimes destructible struggles among cliques and those who do not belong. William Golding used to serve as a teacher for a long time, so his winning Nobel Prize for literature must have been an extraordinary reward to his sublime mastery of education.


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