Lord of the Flies by William GoldingPublished September 17, 1954
At the dawn of the next world war, a plane crashes on an uncharted island, stranding a group of schoolboys. At first, with no adult supervision, their freedom is something to celebrate; this far from civilization the boys can do anything they want. Anything. They attempt to forge their own society, failing, however, in the face of terror, sin and evil. And as order collapses, as strange howls echo in the night, as terror begins its reign, the hope of adventure seems as far from reality as the hope of being rescued. Labeled a parable, an allegory, a myth, a morality tale, a parody, a political treatise, even a vision of the apocalypse, Lord of the Flies is perhaps our most memorable tale about “the end of innocence, the darkness of man’s heart.”
My Thoughts and Excitement
During my time in high school, Lord of the Flies was not required reading material. Even now, it isn't. Honestly, I think it's one of the most important books. I'll get into my reasoning a little bit later, but I wanted to take a moment to give you a mini-review on a more personal level. It has been a week since I finished Lord of the Flies, but I'm still in awe of the powerful story and message. The bleak future and dark being of man is often portrayed in literature, but no piece has done so more powerfully than this one. Golding created a story filled with young men that the audience can't help but care about. I wanted every single one of them to succeed, to live, and, perhaps most importantly, to be saved. This book is one to be cherished and to be shared with our high school students. These individuals need to have the conversations about the nature of man in order to make informed decisions about the kind of man, or woman, they would like to become.
INTENSE SPOILER ALERT FOR THE REST OF THIS POST
The Top 3 Reasons I'm Excited to Teach Lord of the Flies
- Golding creates a number of wonderful characters. These are characters that I truly believe my students will be able to identify with. The smart kid? The leader? The bossy pants? I can think of specific kids who fit each of those descriptions. If I'm able to see them in my own classroom, I believe my students will be able to as well. This will help to make the story more relevant as they see that instead of being a bunch of adults, it is a bunch of boys not much older than themselves. How would they react? Should we chastise these boys for their bad choices? Should we celebrate their wise choices? Is the fire or the rescue still something to celebrate with Piggy and Simon gone? Is there a specific reason those boys didn't deserve to survive?
- The symbolism in this book is absolutely powerful. There is so much anger toward the way things are and hope for the way things could become. Especially when you consider that Piggy's final moments are the very last moments that there is hope for intellect on the island. Once he, the intellectual symbol, has perished, Ralph faces the imbecilic takeover of the other boys. This lends a brand new example to mob mentality and the necessity of rules. I am so excited to have this conversation with my students and to understand their thinking. Will it change? Will they hold tight to their current feelings toward school rules?
- Despite the age of this novel, it remains relevant to our society today. Politically, many people believe that we are abandoning rules that should be followed and are falling into a state of chaos. In the pop culture sphere, we see many of the same themes in books like The Hunger Games and even The Maze Runner. I am so excited to discover what other connections my students make.