2010: 110. Lord of the Flies

“The boy with the fair hair lowered himself down the last few feet of rock and began to pick his way toward the lagoon.”

Lord of the Flies, William Golding

      I hadn’t read this since high school, and I have to admit, I wasn’t looking forward to the re-read.  I hated it then - it’s such a bleak book, and I was not much for extraordinarily depressing views of humanity at age seventeen.  So while I still wouldn’t characterize this as my favorite book, I have to admit that I got quite a bit more out of it than last time I read it.

      The story is simple - after some sort of unexplained nuclear attack, a plane full of school boys crashes on a deserted island.  The survivors, all children, are left to form a society of sorts, and despite the efforts of a few to maintain civilization, anarchy ensues.  The novel works both as a real “what-if” scenario and as parable for human society, and it’s scarily plausible how fast the veneer of humanity falls off the boys.  I mean, this is the stuff of a hundred zombie fictions - how can we main our humanity in the face of horror, but that doesn’t make it any less interesting of a question, and the fact that Golding writes about children makes it both more real and more chilling.  I still think that the book is sad and scary, but being a grown up appreciate it now instead of loathing it.  Though I can’t say I see myself picking it up for a re-re-read anytime soon - I might appreciate this kind of fiction now, but I still don’t love to read depressing takes on man’s ultimate destruction of itself (this is why I find dystopian fiction such a drag). 

Categories:  Fiction, Modern Library Top 100, Re-Read

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017