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.
, 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
Broad subject, somewhat controversial view. Let the rebutting commence.