Lord of the Flies

 
3.5 (2)
 
4.1 (24)
2291 1
Lord of the Flies
Publisher
Genre(s)
Age Range
14+
Release Date
January 01, 1954
ISBN
0399501487
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William Golding's compelling story about a group of very ordinary small boys marooned on a coral island has become a modern classic. At first it seems as though it is all going to be great fun; but the fun before long becomes furious and life on the island turns into a nightmare of panic and death. As ordinary standards of behaviour collapse, the whole world the boys know collapses with them—the world of cricket and homework and adventure stories—and another world is revealed beneath, primitive and terrible. Lord of the Flies remains as provocative today as when it was first published in 1954, igniting passionate debate with its startling, brutal portrait of human nature. Though critically acclaimed, it was largely ignored upon its initial publication. Yet soon it became a cult favorite among both students and literary critics who compared it to J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye in its influence on modern thought and literature.

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 has established itself as a true classic.

Editor reviews

2 reviews

The Dark Heart of Humanity
Overall rating 
 
3.3
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
3.0
Writing Style 
 
3.0
Good to finally grasp the full weight of the references our culture still makes to this classic.

It’s one thing to understand the concept: “Kids left to their own devices on an uninhabited island experience rapid societal and moral degradation.” It’s quite another to put yourself through the trial of experiencing the devolution. And reading it does mean experiencing it, thanks to Golding’s literary wielding.

The prose is vivid—almost cinematic—and possessed of a certain dark elegance, while still remaining accessible. That’s not to say I would ever recommend the book for kids under the age of 12. The violent shattering of youthful innocence is too complete. I’d worry for the young adolescent who wouldn’t be a touch traumatized by the telling, as progressive callousness is the very thing that haunts the theme.

"And in the middle of then, Ralph wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of man's heart."

When I started reading this book, I was afraid it was going to be depravity for the sake of depravity. It helped tremendously to read the author’s explanation of why he wrote it and—almost as interestingly—why he chose a pack of male juveniles as his characters. Golding was trying to show how base evil tends to go hand in hand with the human condition. How very thin the line is between civility and savagery once sufficient pressure is applied. Personally, I think he was ahead of his time in identifying sociopathy in children long before it was a recognized (or diagnosable) state of being.

At any rate, it’s clear the subject matter still resonates. The glut of recent dystopians involving kids being pitted against each other and against their environment is proof enough. (Hunger Games, Maze Runner, Alive, etc.) It remains a popular psychological fascination to break down society and see how isolated youth handle it.

"Maybe there is a beast... maybe it's only us."

It’s disquieting and dismal. The ending comes abrupt, and somewhat lacking in both closure and satisfaction. I don’t regret reading it, but I can’t say I particularly enjoyed the experience.

I think the best part of the book is what Golding said after the story itself was finished: "A book is not what an author thought he put into it, it's what the reader gets out of it."
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Disturbing
Overall rating 
 
3.7
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
3.0
The point of this story is to take a hard look at what humans become when we are stripped of shelter, food, society, structure, and accountability and instead are reduced to animals. The author successfully deconstructs his characters into their basic essence, where fear and a pack mentality win out over courage and ethics nine times out of ten. While the story is brutal and disturbing, I feel it's honest. The writing can be difficult to digest at times (overly descriptive, a sometimes wandering narrative), but this is a book designed to force us to grapple with the question "Who would I be if I lost everything but my will to live?" In that respect, the author is successful, and it's a book worth reading.
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User reviews

24 reviews

 
(11)
 
(3)
 
(3)
 
(2)
 
(5)
Overall rating 
 
4.1
Plot 
 
3.6  (24)
Characters 
 
4.5  (4)
Writing Style 
 
4.3  (4)
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Lord of Dystopias
Overall rating 
 
4.7
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
This was a re-read. Enjoyed it more than ever. Perhaps 'enjoyed' isn't the right word. I appreciated its wisdom and its status as a masterpiece more than ever. Especially now that I'm a parent, I was deeply disturbed by this narrative and its assertions about humanity and the nature of evil. So chilling. So plausible. This isn't to say that I think William Golding accurately portrayed how boys would act when abandoned on a desert island. Many people hate this book because they don't find it plausible. They miss the point. This story is valuable because it adds to the debate about the nature of good and evil within humankind. It's a vehicle for exploring a theory about human nature, not an attempt to forecast actual behavior at such a small resolution. 10 groups of boys would act 10 different ways if they were actually left to themselves in such a scenario. I'm sure Golding would concede this point. Those who fault this novel at that level have completely failed to recognize its power.

I could write volumes about this book. Indeed, many people have. I'll leave my thoughts at this surface level, for now; I couldn't possibly do this story justice with the small amount of time and brain space I can afford it presently. I'm sure my own writing reflects my views on this story better than I can articulate them in an essay; THE ISLANDS AT THE END OF THE WORLD, is, after all, a story about a society suddenly isolated and abandoned.

I'll attempt to sum up my praise very succinctly by imploring: if you only read ten books in your life, please make this one of them; we should all be exposed to and aware of Golding's perspective on human nature in this masterful work, regardless of if we are ultimately inclined to support or reject his assertions.
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Worth reading
(Updated: November 11, 2012)
Overall rating 
 
4.7
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
Personally I love this book. I love the whole concept of it and I stongly recommend it!
Good Points
I like books that are actually about realistic events, I know this isn't based on a true story, but it is possible and it shows how one minute everyone is civilized and the next minute they are fighting and killing each other. Yes it is sad that they killed Simon and Piggy, but overall I love it.
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piggy piggy a quote from lord of the flies
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
I love the part where they say piggy
Good Points
Follow the adventures of a group of boys who are stranded on a island and made a village of their own.It is a great book at some school you will read this book in your senior year.
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Lord of the Flies
Overall rating 
 
3.7
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
3.0
love it
Good Points
love the story. about kids that are loosing too fast the innocense..
i like that until the last moment you don't know why is the book called like that.
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Never be the Lord of any Flies
Overall rating 
 
2.0
Plot 
 
2.0
Characters 
 
0.0
Writing Style 
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by Samantha L

This book I had to read for school. I was very dissappointed with the whole structure of it. It seemed to me that the author skips around a lot with too many different scenes. The book did have some interesting points, I have to admit. For the most part though, it was a complete waste of my summer. Even the end of the book seemed strained, like the author wanted to end it as much as I did.

If you have a choice, do not pick up this book if you want to have a good time.
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the true side of everyone
Overall rating 
 
3.0
Plot 
 
3.0
Characters 
 
0.0
Writing Style 
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by teena

this book is a good and sad book.

lord of the flies is a complicated book to understand, but after you get past the meaning, it makes sense.

a group of british boys are marooned on an island durind world war 2. they start off fine, having fun with no adults. but as the days go by, the loneliness gets to them. they divide into two groups and eventually all the fighting leads to two deaths. by the end of the book i didn't know what was more depressing: the fact that humans are really like this deep inside, or the fact that these little boys were horrible monsters.
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Genius
Overall rating 
 
1.0
Plot 
 
1.0
Characters 
 
0.0
Writing Style 
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by Allyssa

Lord of the Flies was written by William Golding.
The story starts off as a set of boys being deserted on an island, due to a place crash. At first the boys try to be "civilized" like society, with a strict set of rules and ruler, Ralph. Within time, however, their mini-society becomes lost, and some of the boys break away from the group, becoming barbaric, led by Jack. What will happen to the group? Will they ever be rescued?


This book really is amazing. Everything that is read in the story is a symbolism. Every major event means something deeper than what is first perceived. Even each boy represents something bigger. It's a rather good read, and gets your brain working. I had to read this book in 9th grade and I liked it a lot.
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interesting!
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
0.0
Writing Style 
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by Mrs. B.

The Lord of the Flies portrays an interesting look into the mind of the lost. These boys, moving from civilized young men to a savage people, force readers to take a deeper look at what is inside themselves.

Characters are well-defined, pulling readers in and twisting them around with each event. The deaths of some of the characters makes the reader feel both sympathy and anger- sympathy that these children have endured so much, anger that they would commit such horrific acts.
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children without supervision kill
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
0.0
Writing Style 
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by gabby

Lord of the Flies is a powerful, controversial story of rivalry, hunger for power, and stark truths about man. A plane of boys of different ages and schools crashes on a deserted island and they learn to survive... but barely. When leadership changer hands, the idea of rescue is just a shadow in the distance, and the lust for killing surfaces. Without adults, basic bullying gets out of hand and things turn rather scary.
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A classic
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
0.0
Writing Style 
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by Jen

This classic novel is about a group of boys deserted on an uncharted island in a tropical location. Showing survival of the fittest first hand makes this book hard to put down. In this novel you will be shocked at some of the actions these boys resort to. Never once will Lord of the Flies bore you. It is action packed and very well-written. Hope you like it!
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