Books are stories, a way to mentally travel to a new world where the rules you know just seize to exist, or being replaced by new and many times strange ones. But there are also books that makes you shiver without even trying to bend the rules. Because sometimes a story brutally realistic is far more interesting and terrifying.
Such a book is The Lord of the Flies.
I wanted to read this book not only because it’s a classic, but I was dying to see what a bunch of boys can do once they’re left alone. As William Golding had said: “Wouldn’t it be a good idea to write a story about some boys on an island, showing how they would really behave, being boys and not little saints as they usually are in children’s books.”
And yes, it would be a damn good story so since he wrote it, I had no choice but to read it.
What fascinates me about this story is that we don’t care why or how they boys found themselves in this island. Yes, a crash occurred, but no further details are mentioned. The main focus in on the boys and the change in their behavior is radical.
At first they try to behave as good little boys, wanting to find every survivor, to get together and they talk about their parents a lot. But as the group is slowly formed, they are being foolish little kids, some are crying some are scared and chaos spreads.
Pretty soon though they form a community, they choose a leader who set the rules and tries to put an order so they can maximize the possibility of being rescued. His ideas are good, his intentions pure, but the fear of being stuck on this island, the scary thoughts and most of all the survival instinct, forces them to grow up, but growing up lead them to a more aggressive behavior.
I’m sure one can’t realize that a bunch of kids can do horrible deeds as easy as a grown up. But many times kids are harsh only because they’re too young to realize how their actions can really affect the others.
So these kids in William Golding’s story are truly beyond control.
What I realized from this book is that sometimes, the story is not the important part of the book. It’s what the story makes you feel while reading it, or the thoughts that are somehow planted in your brain. And the thoughts in my mind were terrifying. If a bunch of kids can act so brutally, if they can’t unite while facing an unknown threat, if the kids disagree and act selfishly, then what adults could do in a case like this? Far worse, I believe, which is pretty disappointing.
Another part of the story that stuck in my mind is that logic doesn’t really matter when people are out of control. Only two boys were truly trying to protect the others, to establish a healthy community and find a way to make a signal that will eventually lead to their rescue, but both boys were dramatically failing.
Actually is not a surprise that logic is ineffective since people tend to get a bit carried away. Follow the current though doesn’t mean you’ll end up in a safe place. Going against the current may be harder, but sometimes is the only effective way.
And if those kids had listened to those two clever boys instead of the crowd, then things would have ended in a rather different way.
So, I recommend this book for the messages it delivers are strong.