A week or so before Winter Break my younger daughter asked me if I would be willing to be her partner in an assignment for her English class. Basically, she needed to find an adult who would agree to read a book with her and journal their reactions to the book. I was more than simply willing... I was quivering with excitement! The book she chose was Lord of the Flies by William Golding. I was happy about this choice as I had read it in High School and didn't remember much about it and I'm always saying I want to read more classics and never do it. So it was a great choice. It turned out to be a great choice in more ways than one. It is an absolutely fascinating book and one that lends itself quite well to analysis.
On the surface Lord of the Flies is the story of a group of boys, ages 5-13, who are stranded on a deserted island during WWII. The novel tells the story of how the boys navigate the island, find food, shelter and try to keep a fire going in order to be rescued all while negotiating their relationships with each other. But it is so much more than that. It is essentially a psychological and sociological study of human behavior. It explores the human psyche and what happens to human behavior when societal conventions and authority figures are absent. Lord of the Flies exposes the most basic elements of human psychology from survival to power struggles to the man's ultimate primitive nature. Golding is a master writer and his insights into civilization and humanity are fascinating and thought-provoking.
I am so glad that I had an opportunity to reread Lord of the Flies. This is exactly the kind of classic novel I want to read. One thing that keeps me from reading more classics is that I don't know which ones will be enjoyable to a modern day reader and which ones will not. Some books that are considered to be "classics" are extremely dry, difficult to read and full of inaccessible language. But there are accessible classics out there. And Lord of the Flies is one of them. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to read the classics and especially to anyone in a book club. This book is just screaming to be analyzed and discussed.
I would give Lord of the Flies 5 stars - I loved it!
How about you? Have you read any classics that you would recommend?