Lord of the Flies is a dystopian novel by Nobel Prize-winning author William Golding. The novel is usually classified as allegorical in nature as Golding, through his story, exhibits how easily society and culture created by man fails. He uses, as an example, a group of British school-boys stuck on a deserted island who try to create a civilization within the island, but with disastrous results. This classic tale is just as chilling and relevant today as when it was first published in 1954.
The story begins during the war, as an airplane carrying a group of small boys is wrecked onto an uninhabited island. The boys are left alone with no adult presence because the captain and crew are killed. They elect a chief, Ralph, and begin to survive with the resources they find on the island. Certain boys are given certain duties and for some days, they live as a happy, cooperative society. Piggy, a heavy set boy becomes Ralph’s wisdom-dispensing sidekick whose thick spectacles come in handy for lighting fires.
Although Ralph tries to impose order and delegate responsibility, there are many in their number who would rather swim, play, or hunt the island’s wild pig population. Soon Ralph’s rules are being ignored or challenged outright. His fiercest antagonist is Jack, the redheaded leader of the pig hunters, who manages to lure away many of the boys to join his band of painted savages. Even as Ralph tries to deal with Jack and ‘his savages’, the children discover there’s something else on the island besides them. From being the chief to becoming the hunted, Ralph’s story unravels and he learns he must take unprecedented measures to survive.
Golding’s novel explores the boundary between human reason and animal instinct, all in the minds of mere adolescents. The central theme of this book is the conflicting human impulses towards the rules of civilization like living by the law, peacefully and in harmony, and harboring the thirst of power.
William Golding wrote this novel with the intent to include certain elements of moral behavior for readers to absorb. The author has transcribed his message into the novel in the form of adventure and the words and actions of different characters in the novel eventually thump Golding’s message into the reader’s mind with undeniable certainty.
The book also focuses on fear; how human nature deals with it, and what it can make a normal human do. For the boys on the island this fear is in the form of the “beastie”; an unseen figure on the island. This fear also represents the potential evil found in humans. Another interesting aspect and probably the most influential characteristic of the story is the age of the characters. This signifies how the aspect of evil is very common among human beings even of a young age. Golding perfects this idea using children, who represent purity and innocence in a normal society.
Lord of the Flies can be considered a classical novel; a classic in the respect that the author creates special circumstances under which abnormal actions and functions mutate into everyday activity. All of these concepts and ideals are generated by Golding to finally produce a novel of both perplexity and perfection.