Lord of the Flies remains as provocative today as when it was first published in 1954, igniting passionate debate with its startling, brutal portrait of human nature. Though critically acclaimed, it was largely ignored upon its initial publication. Yet soon it became a cult favorite among both students and literary critics who compared it to J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye in its influence on modern thought and literature. Labeled a parable, an allegory, a myth, a morality tale, a parody, a political treatise, even a vision of the apocalypse, Lord of the Flies has established itself as a true classic.
I had never read this book before but I felt I should since it is a classic. Now that I have finished it, I see why. What I thought would be a simple story turned out to be so much more. A bunch of small boys are stranded on an island and must learn how to survive and exist by trying to form their own society. I had no idea that this book would contain so much depth and I found that as I read along, my mind was constantly clicking into gear and reading so much more into everything. I adore when a book has that effect.
For those who haven't read this, and would be put off by the fact that this book is from 1954, you would be surprised (as I was) at just how timeless this book actually is. It doesn't seem dated at all and had I not paid attention to the note from the publisher, I would have guessed it was much more modern.
The characters are brilliantly written and you can't help but think that these children have managed to mimic the adult world perfectly. The scenery descriptions are vivid and delectable:
Here, on the other side of the island, the view was utterly different. The filmy enchantments of mirage could not endure the cold ocean water and the horizon was hard, chipped blue. Ralph wandered down to the rocks. Down here, almost on a level with the sea, you could follow with your eye the ceaseless, bulging passage of the deep sea waves. They were miles wide, apparently not breakers or the banked ridges of shallow water. They traveled the length of the island with an air of disregarding it and being set on other business; they were less a progress than a momentous rise and fall of the whole ocean. Now the sea would suck down, making cascades and waterfalls of retreating water, would sink past the rocks and plaster down the seaweed like shining hair: then, pausing, gather and rise with a roar, irresistibly swelling over point and outcrop, climbing the little cliff, sending at last an arm of surf up a gully to end a yard or so from him in fingers of spray.
The whole book was a joy to read. It was mildly shocking in some parts and I can only imagine how shocking and controversial it must have been when it was first released. I loved that this copy of the book had some notes included by E.L. Epstein, from which I learned many interesting things. I also found a great site about this book for which the link is below.