The Beautifully Grim Classic
Another busy week. They seem to be all merging into one! Fortunately, we have the Bank Holiday to recover.
Despite not watching too many films, I did get a chance to catch up at the end of this week. American Pie 2, The Imposter, and This Is the End were the films I was going to review today. However, even though I started the review, I thought that I had the time to finish the book I’ve been reading: Lord of the Flies.
I seem to have a backlog of classics that are on my need-to-read list. It’s the same for my movies, TV shows, games… What can I say? I love to be entertained. But more than that, I love a good story. Did Lord of the Flies give me a good one? I think you already know what the answer is…
LET’S GET THE PLOT DONE…
During a nameless war, a group of boys survive a plane crash on an island, with no adult survivors. The fair-haired Ralph is nominated the leader as he brings them together with a conch, with Piggy – a spectacled, overweight asthmatic – providing him sound advice as to how to lead the boys. However, when the boys become idle, miss chances for rescue, and become obsessed with hunting on the idle, the civilisation they have made begins to crumble with gruesome results.
I’m not quite sure where to start with this. There’s quite a bit to talk about. Let’s go to the symbolism first. It is an allegorical novel, after all. The themes are very prominent, including civilisation, our primal instincts, and as one of the last lines say, ‘the loss of innocence’.
The symbolism of the characters is also clearly evident. Ralph is the natural leader, who understands the priorities the boys have, but finds it hard to put into words. Piggy is the intelligent one, I’m guessing the most adult-like, whose lack of popularity makes his good ideas ignored. Then there’s Jack, who is the opposite of Ralph, craving leadership for his own personal gains, and will take that leadership with force.
Other notable characters are Simon, whose generally positive approach to the boys and working towards escape and a civilisation on the island adds to the bitter-sweetness of the tragedy. And finally Roger, who originated from Jack’s group of choirboys, finds the island has released a violent streak in him, which rebirths him as a sadistic torturer.
I quite liked all this symbolism in the story. I enjoyed the subtext, and trying to piece together what William Golding was trying to convey.
One particularly interesting thing was the ‘beast’. The boys believe that there is a ‘beast’ on the island. I can’t say much as to not spoil the book, but let’s just say that there might be more (or less) to what meets the eye.
Anything bad to say? Well, there were some passages I found difficult reading. I don’t know whether it was the book, whether it was all the allegories, or if it was just me rushing through some of the longer passages of description, but I did trip up a couple of times. There were points that the focus would be on a specific character in a specific place and without warning, the focus would switch completely onto another character for two sentences, and move back again. Slightly strange, but let’s look over that.
SO I GUESS IN CONCLUSION…
I’ve talked a lot over the symbolism and my time reading the book, but I don’t think I’ve given too much of an overall view. In short, I enjoyed reading this book, and while I can think of books I’ve enjoyed more, Lord of the Flies had excellent characters, thought-provoking themes, and one fantastic story.
So getting closer to the exam time, my drive is slightly fluctuating. Revision is taking up most of my free-time, and I’m ready to finish my A-Levels. I’m a year overdue, you know!
I’ve got a couple of ideas for the blog, but I’m putting them on pause just so I can get the sufficient time in for the exams.
I hope you had a good Bank Holiday, and I’ll see you next week.