I remain convinced to this day that The Lord of the Flies
as a controversial classic is one of those books that depends upon how you read it. I think that at the surface it appears to be a text which is simple and a little dull. When I read it back in 2007 or so I found it incredibly dull. The richness and life I saw in other classics were not apparent. However now that I think back and reflect upon this novel I see it as a grand story, one that extends beyond whatever the perversities of the author may have been.
On the surface it could be read as a simple moralistic tale - a portrayal of what happens when you take people away from society. However I view the book differently. I don't think of it as a portrayal of what happens when individuals are separated from society. I think it is a portrayal of what exists deep down within societies and the propensity towards evil. My particular world view sees the world is both simple and complex (a mix of wonder and logic if you will). People are both good and evil mixed together, by which I mean people are, in my view, as capable of good as they are of evil (at least our human vision of good and evil). To sum down humanity into science, chemicals and hormones is something I disagree with and I'm certain many scientific theories exist about whether such things like Lord of the Flies
could ever happen. I have no doubt that they could because the mind is such a complex device, a mortal engine that with the right conditioning could snap. I believe however that people don't want to think about it and don't want to reflect on what perhaps they could be capable of.
My favourite way to read and think about Lord of the Flies
is as allegory. The boys representing 'sinful' man, that particular mixture of good and evil (which I perceive as more subtle than we realise - if we were to look at the world from a more eternal perspective would it not be a simple 'evil' even to ignore the homeless person asking for food? Perhaps we commit a lot more evil than we realise, even if it is out of ignorance.) And the ending of the book of course in a Christian sense represents the return of true order.
Lord of the Flies is an impossible book to rate from the point of view of enjoyment. There is simply little within it to enjoy. There is however hidden depth and meaning that create a dilemma for the reviewer. Despite me being unable to like the plot I can appreciate the brilliance of how Golding explores the reality of the darkness of men's hearts. And how he subtly alludes to the Christ story through his dark themes reveals his incredible insight. Therefore despite finding the tale itself gruesome I must give this novel five stars for its ability to unnerve and evoke questions of what is the true darkness behind men. Are we really all simply captives of the Lord of the Flies awaiting a saving sailor?