At the end of World War II, a plane full of schoolboys crashes on a deserted island. They are all around the age of eight, Ralph and Jack being the eldest and a bunch of four year olds, the so-called ‘littluns’, being the youngest. Ralph is wisest of them all, and therefore taking charge of the rest. But Jack doesn’t agree. Ralph and his companions Piggy and Simon truly believe they will be rescued very soon, whereas Jack and his hunters have accepted the fact that they might be stuck on the island forever. As Jack’s tribe starts to kill wild animals more and more, the boys become some kind of savages apart from Ralph, Piggy, Simon and the twins Sam and Eric, or ‘Samneric’. When rumours about a dangerous beast on the island arise, things really start to get out of hand…
There is a reason the story takes place at the end of World War II. A lot of people – including the writer of this book, William Golding – believed that after World War I, there would be no more wars like this ever again. But World War II proved those people wrong. They became aware of the fact that humans all have some kind of savagery inside of them and under certain circumstances, their savagery can come out. This is exactly what happens in ‘Lord of the Flies’. The book was published in 1954, after the World Wars, and you can see those wars have changed William Goldings view of the world.
Considering the violent period in which this story takes place, I think you can call the adventure on the island some kind of World War III. Ralph stands for civilization and reasoning, he is the first leader of the group. He sets rules, like ‘you only have the right to speak if you are holding the conch’. In the beginning, it keeps everyone from panicking. And then there’s Jack, a typical antagonist. At first he cooperates with everything Ralph says, but as the story proceeds, he and a couple of his choir members revolt. So I believe Jack symbolizes the savagery that lives in every person. If you can’t cope with it, it comes out in a very wrong way. This is what happened to Jack. Also, peer pressure plays a major role in this book. The ‘littluns’ are for example very insecure and afraid, so they are very persuadable. At last there is Simon, a dreamy little boy, with whom it doesn’t end well. It shows that life is unfair: even though Simon hasn’t done anything wrong, he doesn’t make the end of the story. Which is a shame, I think.
I would recommend this book, but only to people that are good at English and have a large vocabulary. It’s readable, but I had to look up a word in the dictionary quite a few times. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but if you have to do it too many times it becomes annoying. The book has won the Nobel Prize for Literature and I think this is only fair. There has also been made a movie about this story, which came out in 1990.