First published in 1954, the controversial Lord of the Flies touches on the sensitive topics of human nature and the dichotomy between morality and power. Unsurprisingly, Lord of the Flies is cited as one of the most provocative, and most oft-challenged, novels of the century. Like George Orwell's 1984, Lord of the Flies is highly indicative of the era when it was written, presenting a striking allegorical statement about civilization and savagery.
Lord of the Flies, by William Golding, is at a first glance an adventure book. The crash of a British plane on a deserted island leaves a group of young boys stranded and unregulated. Lacking any societal structure and desperate for survival, three leaders emerge - Ralph, Jack and Simon - each with a distinct vision for the future of the group. There is a growing schism between the different factions and the different leaders, which both threatens the welfare of every boy and reveals the true, viral nature of certain individuals.
Similar to Orwell and Kurt Vonnegut, Golding presents an apocalyptic perspective on humanity. Lord of the Flies leaves a poignant image of a society without any form of civilization, and the forces that thus shape the island's inhabitants: morality, emotional reactions, individual success.
Unlike most other wartime and post-war literature, Golding's work is distinctly not science fiction. This fact makes Lord of the Flies closer to the reader's own reality, and in many ways, more affecting, as it touches on concepts and situations that are extreme, yet decidedly relatable.
I give Lord of the Flies a 9 out of 10. Golding's novel lives up to its prodigious reputation. I highly recommend this book for all high-school students, as it is not only a quick and fascinating read, but offers a provoking, albeit troubling, depiction of human moral and rational decision-making.
Mari Miyachi is an Andover resident and student at Phillips Academy.