“Lord of the Flies” by William Golding
(First publication: 1954 / This edition: Faber and Faber, William Golding Centenary 2011)
Taken during brunch and coffee at Dean & Deluca
There’s nothing in it of course. Just a feeling. But you can feel as if you’re not hunting, but—being hunted; as if something’s behind you all the time in the jungle. (p.53)
Back in the summer before senior year of high school, we had to choose a book for summer reading for English class. A friend of mine suggested “Lord of the Flies” to me. He said, “It’s fun. Like a bunch of kids stuck on an island and they kill each other and all. You should read it. It’s good.”
I was like, “….oh. cool, okay, yeah….but like no.”
And since then, I just never found it appealing…for obvious reasons, haha 😛
In the past 2-3 months, two other friends recommended it. One said that it’s not really about the killing/savagery part that is the “prominent theme” of the book, but more of the “political issues raised”. So I became more interested and decided to give it a go—6-7 years after I decided that I was never going to read this.
The two Kinokuniya branches I often go to has a bunch of copies in stock. However, the covers were all so…disturbing? I just felt like I was going to be haunted by whatever I read and just the picture on the book itself. So my purchase kept getting stalled until I decided to just order “the least disturbing one” I could find on Book Depository. This one by Faber and Faber is still kind of disturbing, I guess—i always leave it faced down when I have to stop reading, haha 😛 …….issuesss.
ANYWAY, onto the book… I was kind of bored and didn’t feel much about it at the beginning. I feel like it didn’t pick up until one of the boys started going crazy (Simon) and when other boys started showing dementia and all. My heart was literally racing nonstop throughout the whole second half of the book—until the very end, ohmygod. I felt like I was in an action movie and I had to run run run run run. Oh so intense. I just wish I could’ve been there to save Ralph and Piggy (“Sucks to your ass-mar!”) and all the other boys (except for the douchey Jack and Roger!).
In some ways it reminded me of Sartre’s play “No Exit”—about three people being trapped in “hell”, which was just a room with a locked door that they couldn’t open. Eventually they all went crazy and ended up picking sides and turned against each other—and the play ended with them stabbing each other repeatedly.
I’m glad I read it—it’s much better than I expected. Not just “a bunch of kids killing each other”, but the whole political psychology and humans reducing themselves to savages and animals when it comes to survival—it’s definitely disturbing. The whole “savages for survival” thing reminded a little of Viktor E. Frankl’s memoir “Man’s Search for Meaning”—about the times in the Nazi death camps. He was talking about how he had heard that in one camp, things got so bad that the prisoners all kind of turned into savages and it ended up with cannibalism. I guess really anything can happen when you’re willing to do anything just to survive.
I found some parts of it difficult to read—just because it’s so “action-y”. For example, when they’re fighting or building something or discovering new parts of the island, sometimes I couldn’t really picture what they were doing or seeing. I’ve always been kind of bad at imagining/picturing “action” though. Sometimes I didn’t know what was actually happening until a few paragraphs later or I had to re-read the section again. I also found the story more haunting that I expected even though it’s sans cannibalism—I just can’t handle “gory scenes” well. But other than that, it was such an exciting read!
I would recommend it to those that like action, adventures, and maybe political=ish stories. And, well, it’s such a classic and I feel like most people would’ve read it already in high school, so… it’s good to be in the loop and know what they’re talking about and all. 🙂 And the ending!!!—ohmygod. So worth it.
Here are some of my favorite lines from the book:
As long as there’s light we’re brave enough. But then? (p.137)
He wanted to explain how people were never quite what you thought they were. (p.55)
What they might become in darkness nobody cared to think. (p.143)
You’ll get back to where you came from. (p.121)