Reviews: Lord Of The Flies
Lord of the Flies, or why symbolism is a bad thing
Lord of the Flies is a great book. It's a study in the gradual deterioration of human psyche and society, framed in an unusual plot. It's a complex, intriguing story pulling the reader along through continuously increasing cruelty, without ever really sinking into mental gorn. I count it among the top fifteen-something books I've read, and recommend it to anyone who is equipped with adequate disillusionment and cynicism. Now for the real point of this review. Lord of the flies is a perfect example of what I dislike about the use of symbolism. When I read it, I took every part of it at face value, and enjoyed it. I then did some light research on the symbolism embedded in the story. As an experiment, I applied the most commonly agreed upon symbolic meanings, and here is the story as it looked afterward: [Humanity] finds [democracy] and establishes [civilization]. [The devil] eventually causes conflict in [civilization], culminating in the death of [rationality] and the destruction of [democracy]. Ta-daa, a detailed and compelling story has been turned into something that could fit on a post-it note. Technically, you could argue that the non-symbolic plot could be summarized just as easily, but there's a difference; When reading the book as a non-symbolic story, every little action or detail can be interpreted as something, namely itself. When reading the book symbolically, almost all of it turns into meaningless fluff. Sure, one could try to put symbolic meaning in all of it, but that would result in a schizophrenic, incoherent mess of abstract nouns. In conclusion: Lord of the Flies is a great book. Also, symbolism reduces reduces complex and creative fiction to short, blunt messages. Yet, for some reason, people think it provides a given work with deeper meaning. Broad subject, somewhat controversial view. Let the rebutting commence.
Didn't Enjoy It
I guess I'll be the odd one out who says I did not like the book. I have nothing against the people who think this is a classic, I just found this unentertaining. Slugging through this book was a chore for me. Often, several pages of description went into a mundane task, without even offering clues to the character's thoughts or something else to make it interesting. I will grant that the characters were believable, but also obnoxious. Piggy was the only character I felt any sympathy towards. I could care less about the fate of any of the other boys. In fact, by the end of the book, I would rather all of the savage little boys die instead of all of them be saved, even though I liked Ralph. At no point did I care what happened to them nor share their motivation. Their terrible personalities alienated me from wanting to find out what happens to them. There were some lines I seriously liked, and I started enjoying the book more towards the end when things (read: murders) actually started happening. However, I still didn't like this book. I didn't see the supposedly carefully crafted descent into madness that everyone else did. To me, the little boys were the same throughout, save for Ralph, who seemed to forget about the purpose of the fire while still enforcing its upkeeping. Other than him, the biguns were the same, they just acted differently based on leadership. They *seemed* democratic and sensible when they followed everything Ralph said. Then they *seemed* savage and brutal when they followed everything Jack said. I didn't see a difference, only a difference in who they blindly followed. The other thing that bugged me was how they utterly ignored the littluns. They were hardly ever mentioned, and were left to their own devices. This ignorance to the littluns who needed help was one part of what made me instantly dislike the boys on the island. The other part was their merciless teasing of Piggy, the only character I liked. It's 2:00 am, and I may rethink some of what I said in the morning, but I seriously did not enjoy this book and don't wish to read it's boringness ever again.
Not What I Expected, But Most Certainly Not Bad
I'll be honest, I'd never been told anything about the book before I read it, so after the first couple pages I fully expected Piggy to pull a The Dog Bites Back and kill the other boys with a giant fly monster. I was severely disappointed in that regard. However, I did enjoy the book as a whole. The way their society breaks apart is believable, and Jack is just...wow, how he fell. Since I think very literally, I didn't catch the symbolism as easily as others (Yes, including the scene with the pig. Didn't think anything of it.), so I think I'm going to read it through again to see if I can catch it this time. In other words, good book, but poor Piggy.
Lord of the Flies is a classic
"Lord of the Flies" is a classic. Most people have read or will read it in an English class at some point, because it is full of symbolism and excellent for writing essays about. That does not, however, mean that one should mistake it for a good book. "Lord of the Flies" is not a good book, as everything in it, from its characters to its plot to the writing itself, is pedantic and uninteresting throughout.