Book Review: Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Book Review: Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Title: Lord of the FliesLord of the Flies | The Bookish Elf

Author: William Golding

Publisher: Faber and Faber

Genre: Allegory, Social Commentary

First Publication: 1954

Language: English

Setting Place: Deserted Tropical Island

Protagonist: Ralph

Major Characters: Ralph, Piggy, Jack, Simon, Samneric, Roger

Narration: Third person Omniscient

Theme: Evil, Outlets for violence, Human nature, Loss of innocence, Savagery Vs Civilization

Book Summary : Lord of the Flies

In the midst of a nuclear war, a plane carrying a group of British school boys crashed on a deserted island. Without adult supervision they must work together and govern themselves to survive. At first the boys are civilized and elect Ralph, a boy of twelve years old, as a leader. Things start out okay and boys use Conch shell as a talking stick.

The first day goes rather smoothly and they discuss about hot to get rescued and what they have to do until then any ship come to bring them home. Ralph is determined about creating a smoke signal, so Samneric, a pair of twin boys, is assigned the duty to start and watch a signal fire. Another group, the choirboys lead by Jack, elect themselves to become the hunters and provide meat for the group. Simon, an enlightened boy and Piggy, a scientific thinker, quickly become the counsel for Ralph. Besides these boys, there are several younger boys about the age of six.

Jack and his group become increasingly interested in killing sows. They begin to paint their faces and track the animals for hunting. All the boys begin to be afraid of an imaginary beast in the jungle. Their fears are further fueled when a dead man with a parachute landed on the top of the mountain. The boys begin to see Jack as a protector and look to him for leadership.

Then the conflict increased between Ralph and Jack. Most of the boys on island joined Jack’s tribe, except Ralph, Piggy, Sam and Eric and a couple of the littluns. Jack and group have become complete savages partaking in daily hunting and tribal dancing.

Character List: Lord of the FliesCharacter List - Lord of the Flies | The Bookish Elf

Ralph- The main protagonist of the story, a twelve year old boy who was elected as leader of the boys. Ralph tries to maintain discipline, order, structure. He represents the civilizing instinct of human beings.

Jack – The antagonist of the novel, and one of the older boys and leader of the choir. Jack becomes increasingly dark and disturbed during his stay on island. He represents the evil that exists within all men in uncivilized situations.

Piggy – Piggy is Ralph right hand man. Though criticized for his weight, asthma and lack of physical agility, He is the scientific mind and the rational thinker of Ralph’s team.

Roger – An oddly secretive and sadistic older boy who thrives on preying on those who are younger and weaker. Roger quickly becomes Jack’s first follower and carries out Jack’s evil wishes.

Sam and Eric – Also known as “samneric”, they are twin boys who seem to be one person. They are follower of Ralph and enjoy their duty of keeping the fire signal going.

Maurice- He is Jack’s key supporters, accompanies him on the raids on Ralph’s camp.

Simon – The “enlightened” boy with a true natural sense of morality who spends a lot of time alone with nature. Simon helps and comforts the younger boys in their dreadful moments.

The Lord of the Flies – It’s the name given to the sow’s head that Jack’s gang transfixes on spear as an offering to the “beast.” The Lord of the Flies comes to symbolize the primeval instincts of power and barbaric nature that take control of Jack’s tribe.

Littluns- The littlest boys, around ages six and up.

Book Review: Lord of the Flies

In 1954, William Golding wrote Lord of the Flies, when the world was in the middle of the silent yet terrifying Cold War soon after the World War II. It is not only a tale of boys surviving after their plane crashed on a deserted island; it is an allegorical novel about the conflicts between savagery and civilization.

The significant symbolism which is rather easy to comprehend, made it one of the most popular and admired books in history. The novel presents a memorable and haunting account of believable characters portrayed so subtly and accurately.

It’s based on a series of events following a plane crash that leaves a group of young school-going children stranded on a deserted Island during the Cold War. Lord of the Flies is the story of those boy’s shocking survival. The dreams of all the boys have finally come true: after all, who wouldn’t want a whole island all to themselves to play on without any nagging from adults? Soon after a day or two, the boys realize they needed a leader. The main protagonist, Ralph, is elected as a leader of the group because to his popularity and leadership skills, with Piggy as his sidekick.

All the boys befriend one another, because there is nowhere to go. As the days pass, Jack gets hungrier for authority. What seemed to be a joyous escape from the chaotic adult world at first, soon advances into something far more disturbing and sinister.

Symbols and motifs:

You will love the action-packed provocative tale of survival in Lord of the Flies but also learn three very important characteristics of human nature. First: Human’s desire for social and political order through governments, legislatures and parliaments, depicted by the conch and platform. Second: Human’s natural tendency towards violence, savagery and every nation’s need for military and defense, depicted by the choir-boys-turned-hunters-turned-murderers. And third, our beliefs in the divine interventions and supernatural powers, depicted by the sacrifices and ceremonial dances to appease the “beast”.

Those who didn’t have the opportunity to read it before must not put it on hold any longer.


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1 Comment

  1. I JUST finished this book and my review will post in July. So glad to see you liked it, too! This is required high school reading for most folks in the states, but glad I read it later (really later) in life as I don’t think the story and its meaning would have meant as much without the real-world experience I have now. Truly appreciate and enjoy your in-depth reviews. Well done!

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