I’ll be honest. I really don’t read for pleasure. The majority of the books I have read have been the result of four years of high school English class and a few more years of English classes at Oswego State. But through those six or seven years worth of English classes, there was one book in particular that I found fascinating; it’s a book that taught me that no matter how civilized a group of people can be, they can devolve in a short period of time when they realize their chances of survival are threatened.
“Lord of the Flies,” a novel written by William Golding in 1954, has received recognition as one of the best books of all time. “Lord of the Flies” sits No. 41 on the editor’s list and No. 25 on the reader’s list of the Modern Library 100 Best Novels. Rarely do I ever pick up a book and read it all the way through in a one-week span. It took me roughly two months to read each of the first two “Harry Potter” books, before opting toward the easier alternative and playing $10 to see the movies.
It took me just a few days to read through “Lord of the Flies,” ignoring the teacher’s request to read just two chapters a day. What made this novel such a quick read for me is because of how easy it was to understand the underlying theme of the book. I have read books in my English classes and have been dumbfounded as to what I was supposed to be learning as a result. “Lord of the Flies” progresses in a manner that is simple and straightforward, making it an easy read.
The novel takes place during a time of war, where a plane filed with military school children crash lands on an isolated island, killing all adult passengers onboard. Two boys, Ralph and Piggy, emerge from the plane wreck and discover a conch while walking along the shore. The conch becomes a symbol of order, which quickly deteriorates with the emergence of Jack, who sees himself as the proper leader of the group. The power struggle between Ralph and Jack creates two separate tribes. Ralph’s symbolizes humility while Jack’s symbolizes irrationality.
Kidnapping, war and death persists as both tribes resort back to their primal instincts with each hour that passes by. If this book taught me anything, it was that when a person’s life is threatened, he or she will do anything to survive, even if that includes devolving.
“Lord of the Flies” is available on the third floor of Penfield Library under the catalogue number PR6013.035 L6.