The Big Read

No.70 – Lord of the Flies, William Golding Read 25/3/14

So it’s becoming more and more difficult to post everyday now I have gone back to uni full time. But I am trying and soon I shall have gotten through all the books I have already read and will only have to post when I finish a book. Or maybe I will suddenly have loads of stuff to talk about on other book related topics who knows?

Right on to Lord of the Flies. It’s on exam syllabuses all over the world and yet I never studied it. I did however know a bit about it from wall displays in the English department at school, mostly random bits about the symbolism of Piggy’s glasses accompanied by some student’s cartoon of a pig in glasses. This is one of those books were I’m not sure if I like it for itself or its reputation. When, I actually think about the story there is very little I really like or that moved me. I didn’t really care about any of the boys on the islands so I didn’t care if their small society broke down. I read it in a detached manor as if I were an outside observer rather than a part of the story.

I’m not sure if I’m making myself clear. I found it difficult to imagine the island physically. Left and right seemed to mean nothing and I couldn’t visualise the geography of the place. As a result I kind of drifted through the novel with no sense of reality. Perhaps this is engineered. Perhaps it is to reflect the loss of reality that the boys feel. But at the same time it makes it difficult for me to believe the events as realistic. With this sort of book I like a Brechtian approach. I don’t want to drift through the novel not feeling anything I want to be shocked and my views challenged. Perhaps I have too much faith in humanity, maybe a modern audience is less suspicious of ‘savagery’ and more understanding of society than in the 50s. Perhaps having never been a prepubescent boy I find the downward spiral of events hard to understand.

Whatever it is, I am glad I read this book, not for its content, but for the prestige. There is no denying that this book is an extraordinary work of literature and sometimes it is quite nice to have bragging rights and be able to say “yeah I’ve read that”.

Rating: 4/5

Would recommend to: fans of Orwell.

 

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