Lord of the Flies Book Review

Lord of the Flies Book Review

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Lord of the Flies

For the study of the first amendment and censorship we had to read a banned or challenged book. I read Lord Of The Flies by William Golding. Lord Of The Flies was written in the 1950's during the World War Two era.
This book is about a bunch of boys aged 6-12 that get stranded on an uninhabited island with no adults. They elect Ralph as leader and Jack and the choir members from his school as the hunters of the group. The little kids, or litluns as they are referred to in the book, believe there is a monster on the island, and as the book progresses some of the big kids believe the monster is real after a few kids mistake a dead man for the monster. Jack splits off from the group because he does not agree with Ralph's obsession with keeping the signal fire burning at all times and would rather be hunting then tending to it. The majority of the group goes with him except for Ralph, Piggy, Simon, Sam, and Eric. After one of the new groups hunts they cut off a sows head and put it on a spear, and stuck in the ground as an offering to the beast. Simon sees the dead man for what it really is and when he sees the pigs head it talks to him and tells him that his theory that the beast is actually just the boys fear of the unknown and it reveals itself to be the Lord of the Flies. When he goes to tell the other boys what he found out they mistake him for the beast and kill him out of fear. Jack's tribe realizes they cannot make cooking fires without Piggy's glasses so they ambush Ralph and the others in the night and steal Piggy's glasses. When Ralph, Piggy, Sam, and Eric go to speak with Jack's tribe to get Piggy's glasses back Ralph and Jack end up fighting, Sam and Eric get taken prisoner, and Roger kills Piggy. Sam and Eric (now part of Jacks tribe) warn Ralph that the tribe plans to hunt Ralph and put his head on a spear like they did to the sow. Roger tortures Sam and Eric until they tell him where Ralph is hiding, so Jack's tribe sets off hunting for Ralph and light the forest on fire to smoke Ralph out of hiding, but the fire burns out of control and the whole island catches on fire.

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When Ralph reaches the opposite end of the island he finds a navy soldier their, he had spotted the fire and came to find the people on the island. When everyone sees the cruiser and the soldier they forget about the hunt and are happy to be rescued.
I believe that lord of the flies was banned because of the violence, gore, and because it suggests that humans are no more than savage animals. Jack and his hunters attack a sow and her piglets while they were feeding, stabbing one piglet with a spear and stabbing several into the mother while she ran until she finally collapsed from loss of blood and lack of energy. Then the boys jumped on her stabbing their spears wherever they could until Jack cut her throat with his knife. Robert exclaims "Right up her ass!"(123). Talking about where to put the spear to carry her body back to camp.
An example of the violence in the book is when after Simon returns from talking with the Lord of the Flies and the others kill him. "The beast struggled forward, broke the ring and fell over the steep edge of the rock to the sand by the water. At once the crowd surged after it, poured down the rock, leapt onto the beast, screamed, struck, bit, tore."(139). The beast in that part was Simon. The others mistook him for the beast, and they murdered him.
An example of the gore is when Jacks tribe killed Piggy. "His head opened and stuff came out and turned red. Piggy's arms and legs twitched a bit, like a pig's after it has been killed."(165). This describes when Piggy landed on the rock after he had been knocked off a cliff by a boulder sent rolling by Roger.
"There were no words, and no movements but the tearing of teeth and claws."(139). This quote suggests that the humans were like animals in the way they were fighting, saying that they the tore each other apart with their teeth and claws, like animals.
Although Lord Of The Flies is found offensive by some it has some redeeming qualities. It is a classic story of survival in which the characters have to live with each other for a long time without any adults, and overcoming the challenge of the beast.
The themes of the book are also an important educational thing to look at. The first theme is that the problems in society can be traced back to the problems of humanity. "The officer, having interrupted a manhunt, prepares to take the children off the island in a cruiser which will presently be hunting its enemy in the same implacable way. And who will save the adult and his cruiser?"(186). Ralph being hunted by Jack and the ship being hunted by the cruiser are in the same position, being hunted by someone else, except Ralph will be saved from Jack's tribe by the adult, but no one will save the ship when the cruiser hunts it. Put simply fights between two groups of people and wars between nations are very similar except that the war is on a much larger scale, and there's no one to save a nation from being attacked without someone else joining the fight.
The second theme is the conflict between the two ways of thinking that are present in all of us. One is acting civilized and living by rules in a secure society where everyone agrees and there is no reason to fight one another. The other is to just have fun and do whatever you please, ignoring rules and acting on violent impulses. Ralph represents leadership in society while Piggy represents the science and intellect behind it. Jack represents pure savagery and the desire for complete power, while Roger represents brutality, cruelty, and the need for violence, pain, and blood at the most extreme level.
The first amendment says that we have freedom of speech, press, assembly, religion, and freedom of petition. By censoring a book you are infringing upon the authors freedoms. In The Day They Came to Arrest the Book by Nat Hentoff, Barney states "show me a book that offends no one and I will show you a book that no one, in the whole history of the world has willingly read"(34). This statement means that every book offends someone in one way or another whether it is some one getting brutally murdered or one little bad word. If it offends no one then it might as well be a book full of blank pages because it has no worthwhile content because it can't say anything important that doesn't offend someone in some way. If censorship is allowed to happen even if it starts out with just a few books here and there eventually every book will be banned because everyone will want anything they find offensive in any way gone, never to be read again. Censorship completely ignores the first amendment because then the government is telling you what you can and cannot read, and that's wrong. If they tell us what we can or cannot read it is like a literature tyranny. Every book worth reading has something wrong with it.
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