A lack of norms and values

During the Middle-Ages, people believed everybody was evil, and the only way to suppress this evilness was to live strictly by the bible. Eventually this mentality of living as a preparation for the afterlife has been replaced by the thought of enjoying the time you have. Although, there are still people who maintain this thought, like William Golding, author of ‘Lord of the Flies’. Having gone through two wars, his vision of people has changed. He started to realize that everybody has something evil inside of them, and without the norms and values of society today, this evilness would come out, and people would be completely different. Golding tried to spread this message by writing, and putting his thoughts on paper. Out of all his books on this subject, Lord of the Flies is by far the most famous one.

The story takes place during World War 2. Because of the war, a group of boys is being evacuated by plane, but unfortunately crash in front of an uninhabited tropical island. A part of the boys die, while about 30 boys survive. Because none of the adults survived the crash, the kids are on their own. Without any type of authorisation, the kids have to survive untill they get rescued. As expected, their true characters come out, without any norms and values stopping them.

The story focuses around three boys, Ralph, Jack and Piggy. Soon after the crash, the kids realise they will need a tactic, and decide to choose a leader. Ralph gets chosen above Jack, leaving Jack jealous and angry, even though he is given the leadership over the hunters.

Piggy is a fat boy with glasses, who gets made fun of by everybody. He and Ralph have mutual thoughts about the situation, while Jack only thinks about having fun. Gradually, all the boys start to ignore their tasks and start following Jack, causing the group to split in two groups; one leaded by Ralph, the other by Jack. Jack has a lack of discipline, causing the norms and values in his group to fade out; Piggy and Simon die because of improvident behaviour.

Eventually, all the kids choose for Jack’s group, leaving Ralph alone. All the time the kids have spent on the island has made them gone mad and lose the norms and values they once had. Ralph seems to be the only one to maintain these norms and values, but is being chased by the rest of the group.

Personally, I enjoyed the book, especially because it contains an original story. It’s a very philosofical book and made me think about why we act the way we do. I believe Golding wrote the book for this exact reason, and that’s what I enjoyed about it. I like the message it contains, which is hidden under a thrilling, exciting story. I came to the conclusion that without authority and the norms and values it lays upon us, society would be nothing more than chaos.


Arthur Diepersloot


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