Originally published in September of 1954, a dystopian type novel where a group of British boys are stuck on an inhabited island who try to given themselves while waiting for rescue with disastrous results. Lord Of The Flies has been called an early Hunger Games.
When a plane full of English school boys crashes onto a deserted island with no adult survivors, the boys ages 6 – 12 have to figure out a way to survive.
When Ralph, one of the older boys is voted to be their leader, and the runner up to his leadership Jack, a boy who will put in charge of the other boys and call them “hunters”, it looks like they are off to a good start. They are each assigned duties like building a fire (so a passing boat might see the smoke), gather food, make shelter, and eventually hunt the wild pigs they find on the island.
Of course, boys will be boys, and the system quickly deteriorates as most of the survivors would rather swim and lay in the sun. When Jack takes a team of boys hunting instead of maintaining the fire as he was supposed to things start to change for the worse. Soon Ralph is being challenged by his authority and Jack feels that perhaps since he can provide food that he is the better choice for a leader. The boys split into two different areas of the island.
While Ralph maintains Piggy, a heavier but also brilliant boy who with the help of his glasses can make fire, Ralphs team are not hunters. While Jack leads a team that is fed well by the hunt, they are unable to make fire. Unable to work together the two groups of boys turn savagely against each other; crazed from the heat and lack of basic survival needs with no adult supervision, the boys go too far…
and there is no turning back.
In my quest to read all banned books during banned books week, this is a small (202 pages) book that has been on my classic shelf for a couple of years, waiting its turn to be chosen. As I left for the cabin on Thursday afternoon, I grabbed this one off the shelf.
At first Lord Of The Flies took a few pages to sink into the rhythm. The book starts out after the crash. (Think LOST). You do not receive a lot of back story here as to where they were going, but you do pick up that they are a choir.
As the book starts to movie forward you have Ralph who is mainly given leadership because he has the conch shell which calls the wandering group together. Piggy, who is constantly and sadly made fun of throughout the book, is a young voice of wisdom. Jack, comes along as a stronger boy one who wants recognition and quickly finds he is skilled at hunting which impresses the other boys.
According to author William Golding, Lord Of The Flies was written to trace the defects of society back to human nature. (There is a wonderful back story to the book in the final pages)
I read the book in the space of a couple of mornings at the cabin. The book easily held my attention as the frustrations quickly rise when Ralph discovers that it is a lot of work to try to get things done hen only a few are doing the work. When the boys turn against each other and start acting live savages (one group turning to wearing face paint made from berries and mud on the island, all society acceptances seems to flow away.
Towards the end of the book my eyes were flying across the pages wondering what was going to happen.
I am so glad I had an opportunity to read this book called by Time Magazine in 2005 “One of the top 100 books of all time” and having won many awards.
SO why was this book banned?
Challenged at the Dallas, TX Independent School District high school libraries (1974).
Challenged at the Sully Buttes, SD High School (1981). Challenged at the Owen, NC High School (1981) because the book is “demoralizing inasmuch as it implies that man is little more than an animal.”
Challenged at the Marana, AZ High School (1983) as an inappropriate reading assignment.
Challenged at the Olney, TX Independent School District (1984) because of “excessive violence and bad language.” A committee of the Toronto, Canada Board of Education ruled on June 23, 1988, that the novel is “racist and recommended that it be removed from all schools.” Parents and members of the black community complained about a reference to “niggers” in the book and said it denigrates blacks.
Challenged in the Waterloo, IA schools (1992) because of profanity, lurid passages about sex, and statements defamatory to minorities, God, women and the disabled.
Challenged, but retained on the ninth-grade accelerated English reading list in Bloomfield, NY (2000).
Leave a comment on this post and not only be entered to win one of the banned book week prizes, but also one commenter on this post between now and next Sunday will be entered to win a copy of this book sent directly to your home from Amazon.
Have you read this book? What are your thoughts on the comparisons to Hunger Games?
If you have not read it, would you consider reading it? Why or why not?
- Mass Market Paperback: 208 pages
- Publisher: Perigee Books; Reissue edition (July 27, 1959)
- Language: English
47 thoughts on “Lord Of The Flies by William Golding (Banned Books Week 2014)”
I haven’t read this one (or The Hunger Games), and not for the reasons it was banned. The story just doesn’t interest me. I saw The Hunger Games movie, and it was okay, but I have no desire to read the book.
Many people have told me this was required reading when they were in school but I never had to read the classics… in a way… that annoys me 😀 I wish I would have been subjected to some of these amazing books.
Gosh, I read LOTF over 40years ago, and I never forgot it. “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”, and in this way, Golding far outweighs Hunger Games. Golding really reflects his times, and for those revisionists out there this book has got to rankle you, because Lewis Carrol the satirist can be revised into the Disney-fied Alice, but you can’t really revise Lord of the Flies
Right! I feel it is important to know the history that is within these books that have made an impact on literacy and culture. I find the Hunger Games/LOTF comparison a stretch… but who knows… maybe that is how is originated. 😛
I’ve not read this book. I remember back in high school, our teacher picked another book in it’s place… I’ve always been curious about the story though. Now I’m wondering how it connects to the concept behind Hunger Games
I think the comparison is that is winds up with kids killing kids – both cases for survival.
I read Lord of the Flies years ago for school and saw the movie. I agree that the premise is similar to The Hunger Games(I haven’t read the books yet but enjoyed the movies). The difference is that the characters in LOTF were in the predicament due to a plane crash(like LOST) and not as a depraved form of entertainment.
I haven’t read this book, but hope to. I really want to catch up on banned and classic books which I’ve sadly read very few.
I made a list this morning… its on my tab bar of the blog now. I was surprised how many banned books I have read, but I have a LONG way to go 🙂
I have never read this book except as part of homework – either mine or my kids. Thus, I despise it. I wonder what I would have thought of it had I just been allowed to pick it up. Funny that it’s so often banned or challenged when in conservative Nebraska it’s been part of the high school curriculum for decades.
I get the social society stuff behind it – in that sense it is brilliant.
I had to read this book in school and did not enjoy it because we had to “critique” the book backwards and forwards, Read it again a few of years ago and had a different reaction because I choose to read it for pleasure. For me both books were completely different other than kids kill kids. My kids attended a Christian school and this was required reading for their AP English class.
Maybe that is one good thing about not having read many of the classics as a kid – I can now do so of my own decision. 🙂 That’s amazing that this was required reading in a Christian school!
I hated this book in my teens but I think it was because it resonates so with younger readers. One day I intend to brave it again.
I can see how this would be a hard read as a teen. I dont think I would have got through it. As an adult it was still hard but I could see the bigger picture.
I read this a few times years ago. First, as a high school assignment (which, funnily enough, was in Dallas, Texas and I had no idea it was banned) and then a few times after that. Extremely well written, especially to so capture the imaginations of high school students with nothing but hormones on the brain. I’ll definitely have to pick this one up again soon.
Excellent post! Love how you tied your review and choice of book along with ‘banned books week’!
This novel DOES sound a lot like the hunger games! WOW!
Thanks – its something I try to do every year 🙂
I haven’t ever read this book, but it sounds fascinating. I love banned books week. Though it is crazy to me to think that books get ‘banned’.
It is crazy but it makes me read a lot of great books 😛
I read LOTF about two years ago… It was required reading for all the English classes in high school except my honors class, we got a different “controversial” book (can’t remember what though).
Anyway, I ended up not really liking the book. I think it was too “male” for me, just like Catch-22… If that’s possible? Lol. Still, a great lessons-to-be-learned kind of book!
I have not read Catch 22… now I am curious 🙂
I had to read this book in high school and didn’t like it at all! I’ve never been interested in The Hunger Games either, but have often thought I should revisit LOTF as an adult.
I cant say I liked the book, but I am glad I read it if that makes sense 🙂 There are books out there that I want to be able to say I have read. 😛
I read Lord of the Flies just recently and immediately afterwards verbalized the connection to The Hunger Games, though to be fair, I haven’t read The Hunger Gams. However, from what I’ve heard of it, there’s a strong correlation.
All in all, I though Lord of the Flies was a good book. I think it handled it’s story line better than The Hunger Games did (again this is only from reading Wikipedia and hearsay).
I have read and enjoyed both (Hunger Games I liked more). I dont know if I would have put the two books together, bu someone else had said that so I was looking for it 😉
I have not read this book but have intended to for many years. If I win it, I’ll finally read it.
YES! That would be awesome! 😀
I’m reading Lord of the Flies at the moment, and Maze Runner, both similar ideas about a group of young people abandoned to fend for themselves in a harsh environment. I really enjoy stories about survival so I’m enjoying them and I loved the Hunger Games as well.
I enjoyed Maze Runner and am looking forward to the movie!
I have not read Lord of The Flies, but I put it on my TBR list. For one reason, I put it to one category from a challenge I’m participating. Its not really my cup of tea but what harm could be done by reading it? I just hope I could handle it 🙂
It’s quick and I found it interesting but not really my type of read either 😉
I read Lord of the Flies a few years ago for the first time. I never read it in school. My son had to read it last summer for summer reading, going into 10th grade. He proclaimed it really depressing! I have to agree – it’s a sad commentary on human nature. Look at Survivor! Despite being such a downer, it is very well-written and easy to see why it is a classic – great for class discussion on human nature. Glad you enjoyed it.
Book By Book
It is sad… it falls apart so quickly.
I had probably read this in high school. I remember seeing the movie! Very early Hunger Games.
I want to see the movie now 🙂
Yes I would like to go back and read this one …. still relevant today no doubt!
I thought so 🙂
I haven’t read this one. But I generally like dystopias.
This is a quick read Hannah, I felt it was important to be able to say I read it. (I dont know why….lol)
Yeah, there are a few like this one I haven’t yet read. I’m missing Brave New World too, for instance. SIGH.
It’s been a long time since I read this book. Time for a re-read. I don’t see too many similarities to THE HUNGER GAMES.
I read this book so long ago! I read it when I was too young to understand it, I think, because my whole thought process to reading if was the elementary equivalent to “What the hell?”I should probably read it again as an adult!
I have read The Lord of the Flies by William Golding. I didn’t really get it. Not like I would now that age has come my way. So I want to reread it. All I can remember is a bunch of kids stuck on an island without parents or adult authority. Also, remember a fight for leadership and Piggy and the glasses. I’m missing too much information. Might as well say I didn’t read it. Enjoyed your review. Will go and look over again why this book is banned. Thanks for putting me in the contest.
It’s amazing to read the reasons why Banned books are banned. Sex??? I wonder if these people really read the books or just read a blurb because sometimes their thinking doesn’t seem clear.