Friday, 10 October 2014

Lord of the Flies - William Golding

What (I think) it's about: (Spoilers)

1. A bunch of British boys crash onto a deserted island. They initially start with rules and structures for their civilization, but this slowly breaks down throughout the book as the boys grow increasingly more savage and wild. They realise that there are no adults to govern their actions, and human nature takes over.

2. Initially, the protagonist (of sorts) finds a conch shell at the bottom of a lagoon. The conch shell becomes a revered symbol of authority and power. I finally understood the significance of the magic conch shell in Spongebob season 3 episode 42a. Source here.
The Club Spongebob episode is loosely based on Lord of the Flies, with Spongebob representing Ralph, Patrick representing Piggy, and Squidward representing Jack. Although it is also a parody of sorts, as Patrick being dumb is the direct contrast of Piggy who symbolises the rational, reasoning and intellectual side of society. Both the episode and the book ends with a man in uniform coming to rescue them. (I really could write a whole essay on the metaphors between Spongebob and the book, why didn't I have such assignments in school)

3. The book is also filled with tons of symbolism and allegories, and being a dystopian novel itself, one can see where recent popular works of fiction got their inspiration from. (Maze Runner?) I found the book to be incredibly dark and horrifying, I half-expected the boys to resort to cannibalism and eat Piggy. Haha.

4. But the book proceeds at a terrifying pace, building up in horrors until the end where they are chasing down Ralph to kill him, but their "game" is interrupted by a Naval Officer, who regards them with disappointment. What the Naval Officer didn't realise is that he too was playing his own "game" of chasing the enemy as well. Wah super "ah-hah" moment for my brain.

5. It is also fairly interesting that throughout the book, a signal fire is represented as the most important thing (as it would lead to rescue). However, it was not a signal fire that led to their rescue, but the huge forest fire they created to smoke their prey (Ralph) out.

6. It's a good thing I read this book after I ORDed, because to read it during army would have made it even more terrifying. Having walked through many jungles and come upon unmarked streams and rivers on maps, as well as all those hanging creepers and thorns, and even the fruit trees and rocks. It's all too familiar with the setting of the book.

Let's not even think about the other random derelict concrete structures we stumbled upon in the middle of the forest. Random concrete pillars, steps, and wells all overgrown with moss and greenery. It's like something out of a book (hah but not this book).

Okay that's all. I think it's a great book though, one that I wouldn't mind reading for Literature lessons in school. But it's a bit too graphic and horrific for Secondary School Literature lessons. Further readings on the book can be found here.

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