Lord of the Flies is one of the most disturbing books I’ve ever read. It was certainly disturbing when I read it the first time and it still is. With a group of innocent schoolboys who are stranded on an island, the author portrays very realistically human behavior in an environment where civilization no longer has any meaning. At the rate we are going at the moment, this might were we are heading.
The book was published in 1954 at the time Britain faced the harsh reality which the country blissfully ignored before that it is not, actually the centre of the universe. The British Empire was actually transgressing the freedom and the rights of other human beings. In the past British colonialism was often justified in a very self-righteous way to educate and modernise foreign „savages“. So this book was somehow an interesting deconstruction of white, Western supremacy.
There is of course a lot of racism in this book which makes modern readers often cringe. You have Ralph who is presented pretty much from page 1 as the perfect white, blonde and blue-eyed guy from a private school. I hope I’m not mistaken that I always saw it as Golding challenging the idea that the savages are the dark-skinned, uneducated people from rural areas who need to be rescued by superior western whites. I thought Golding was trying to show us how these private school boys with silver spoon up their arses are in no way better than the so called savages.
“I agree with Ralph. We’ve got to have rules and obey them. After all, we’re not savages. We’re English; and the English are the best at everything. So we’ve got to do the right things.”
The scary thing about story is how real it feels. The Lord of the Flies is brilliant dystopian fiction with a bunch of very real human characters that show you what might happen when they are thrown into a desperate situation. The line between humans and monsters gets very blurry. Golding shows us that we are not so far away from our primal nature and that it needs only some difficult situation and a little push to wake our darker side.
The story itself can sometimes be a bit confusing, many of the children don’t have distinct personalities, and little character development.
But if you want to read a really good book and are not afraid of being haunted by it for a while after you finish it, this is your book either to read it for the first time or a re-read after some time.
The book was published in German as „Herr der Fliegen“ in Fischer Verlag.
Has anyone seen the movie that was made in 1990? Is it any good?