Lord of the Flies

By William Golding,

Book cover of Lord of the Flies

Book description

A plane crashes on a desert island and the only survivors, a group of schoolboys, assemble on the beach and wait to be rescued. By day they inhabit a land of bright fantastic birds and dark blue seas, but at night their dreams are haunted by the image of a…

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Why read it?

11 authors picked Lord of the Flies as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

A classic shocker. When I first read this book sometime around 50 years ago, I was shocked at how quickly the characters reverted to a primal state.

Now, that I’m older and wiser, I’m still shocked. I’m shocked at how easily the characters went primal, because I think that is a sad reality, that for most people, civility is a thin veil easily torn by the right circumstance.

I have a deep connection with this novel.

I first read it for school when I was about 16 or 17 years old. Now an English teacher myself, I read it for the umpteenth time this year with my Year 11 class, and it was an incredible experience. It was the first time I have taught it at a boys' school. Wow! Thadgot it! Each time I revisit the book, I uncover more subtleties within its pages.

The characters are so well-crafted, and I never fail to be invested in their harrowing journeys. As a mother of two sons, the…

Admittedly I don’t read enough fiction. However, good fiction books can be just as (if not more) instructive to business ethics students and practitioners as the best non-fiction works. The best ones provide lessons that are timeless. One example of this is Lord of the Flies. Based on the story of a group of schoolboys who become stranded on a deserted island, the book is a window into the dynamics that emerge when humans form groups – hierarchies naturally emerge, the battle for power is rarely pleasant, and power in the wrong hands invariably corrupts. More importantly, it…

Islands are very much microcosms of the world, but they can be quite insular. Almost exempt from the rules of wider society. I first read Lord of the Flies in school – often a bit of a scary island in itself – and I read it in the way you drive past a horrific car crash: you don’t want to look because you know something awful has happened and is still happening, but you can’t help it. I was not popular in high school, and really identified with poor Simon and Piggy; the story is so frightening because it’s so…

From Carole's list on eerie islands.

Taking you to another (maybe not so nice) world is Lord of the Flies. Once again, I read this when I was in school and Wow! did it scare me. I was so involved in the intricate lives of these boys, left without any adults to supervise them, and this strange, almost primeval society they construct from the very jungle itself. I could put myself in their shoes, imagining this classmate being Ralph, Jack, Piggy, or Simon. I saw myself in their struggle to maintain their last ties to humanity, and realized we are all just a hair’s breadth away…

Some of the most deep and memorable conversations I've had with my friends entailed "how do you recreate civilization after civilization collapses?" I found that Lord of the Flies humbled my utopian ideas as it presents some logical steps of social disintegration. What's great about this story is that it's not even set in a remnant of civilization, but drops us straight onto an island. The cast of characters is so perfectly written as we see children trying to not only survive but to create their own civilization on this island. I found these images to be vivid and perfectly…

An island with no adults and no rules. A teenager’s dream come true! William Golding masterfully brings this scenario to life and offers a wide range of characters to identify with. For me, it was the island itself that was most vividly portrayed. From the sound of the surf hitting the beach to the stench of rot, no detail is overlooked in this world of isolated boys. The social commentary and character analysis are all there for the more advanced reader, but any of us can enjoy a great survival story.

The most vicious of the five books, but also the most honest. At its heart, Lord of the Flies is about the thinness of civilization’s veneer; how quickly a community disintegrates down to its barest savagery. It doesn’t take much to smash society  the strong preying on the weak - when kids with runny noses whoop through a jungle impaling each other with spears because they can’t think of anything else to do.

Another big influence, but not the sea this time. Instead, we get survival and essential character questions in an island setting.

I love how this book uses the island, and the society the lost boys create, both as a microcosm of civilised society, and – paradoxically – as a study of what can happen when the order, rules that govern and protect basic human decency are removed. 

I like that LOTF does not tell us what to think. It does open up a lot of soul-searching questions.

From Chris' list on the power of the ocean.

In this classic novel of survival by William Golding, a group of schoolboys endures a plane crash only to find themselves marooned on a deserted island with little hope of rescue. With no adults to guide them and no rules to follow, the boys’ fragile society begins to rapidly break down and soon devolves into fear, chaos, and even murder. This book speaks to me as a cautionary tale of what can happen when the rule of law no longer holds sway, and our most primal and savage instincts are allowed to run rampant. Not only that, but this book…

From Jeremiah's list on helping you survive the apocalypse.

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