Monday, February 8, 2016

The Lord of the Flies

The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding, is the second book for this particular classics challenge, and I will answer the following questions about it.

WHEN I Discovered This Classic
WHY I Chose to Read It
WHAT Makes It A Classic
WHAT I Thought of This Classic
WILL It Stay A Classic
WHO I’d Recommend It To

The Lord of the Flies is one of those books that I have nearly always been aware of. I can picture the cover on the version that was on the shelves in my house growing up, and which is still floating around here somewhere. When I was in high school there were books that we were required to read, and then a list of optional reading that could be used for various papers, etc. I know this was on there, but I never chose it. I am sure that the fact that it was about a group of young boys probably influenced that.

I chose to read it now because it consistently appears on lists of the best books, and I am trying not to leave any significant holes in my reading.

I believe that it is a classic--and will stay a classic--because it addresses one of the most basic literary themes--man's inhumanity to man--at a basic level. It shows a truth that we all know: Children are not innocent. It affirms what we all know in our hearts, that without civilizing influences and "grown ups" enforcing the rules, there will always be those who will take advantage, take over, steal, murder, etc. But it also allows for some to be guided by a stronger sense of right and wrong, and by the welfare of others, as well as themselves.

I liked this book, although I didn't really expect to. It was well-written. The monsters were an interesting idea. You could feel the tragedy coming from the very beginning, and the book was sad, but somehow not in an overwhelming way.

I would recommend this book to those Pollyanna-ish people who believe in the innocence of children or the ideals of communism. This deeper truths of this book are a perfect illustration of why communism and socialism don't work.