I almost didn’t finish William Golding’s Lord of the Flies. After 60 pages, it put me to sleep for a good two hours last weekend so I was hesitant to pick it back up but I had to reach my 100-page limit before I could call it. So I picked it up again Monday night and somehow, it managed to capture my attention enough to help me finish it. I didn’t care for it all that much but then again I am not a fourteen year old boy.
I am not one for survival stories either so a book with all male protagonists on an island trying to survive was pretty much everything Krystal is bound to not care about in a story. While I appreciated what Golding was trying to convey in his characterizations and plot, I can’t say I cared much either way who lived or who died. Also, I thought the ending was a bit, I don’t know, odd. Though can you imagine the therapy bills for those boys once they got to civilization?
A few scenes however made me stop and think for a moment. The character of Roger especially caught my eye as he’s on the periphery of the story except for two all-important moments. In the first scene, he is throwing stones at one of the younger boys but all the stones miss their mark, as if he is afraid of throwing them directly at the child for fear of punishment. Golding notes the chains of society, still clinging to him, stopped his aim for hitting the child directly. Fast forward to the climax of the story and Roger is one of the most bloodthirsty boys on the island, Jack’s right hand man who terrifies the twins into disclosing Ralph’s location. I thought his particular storyline crystalized the rest of the boys’ evolution as they all went to the extreme in some degree or another. My logical brain though just can’t quite see how a boy comes to the conclusions Jack makes in this storyline. I guess that would explain my affinity for poor Piggy. And why I spent the whole book thinking, “If this had been girls, we wouldn’t have this problem.” So, I got to feel superior. Bonus!
This book ended up on my “books I should have read by now” list because I remember the Regents English classes reading it in high school and wondering what it was about. Why I didn’t read it back then, who knows, I imagine I was too busy trying to keep up with the reading for my own English class. I can see the teachability of the novel and how it would make excellent discussion fodder in a high school English class but still, I would have been unamused even as a high schooler to find that book assigned reading. I just failed to connect to it in a way that made it relevant to myself. Perhaps I was just too old to understand the instincts of kids left on their own.