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YMMV / Lord of the Flies

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  • Alternate Aesop Interpretation: The book was written just to say Humans Are Bastards and Hobbes Was Right, a Take That! to all the Rousseau Was Right works of the time. Some have read it as a slightly friendlier aesop against the racial stereotypes of the era, showing that under the wrong circumstances even British schoolboys can fall into savagery just as easily as any "inferior" cultures.
  • Angel/Devil Shipping:
    • Ralph and Jack. While Ralph is no saint himself, he definitely is one of the most innocent boys on the island, especially when compared to Jack. Ralph turns from an immature kid into a kind and considerate boy, not to mention that he is completely broken in the end, while Jack starts the same as Ralph, but he goes into the opposite direction, as he becomes even more malicious, abusive and sadistic in the end. Ralph also represents the civil, moral part of the human mind, while Jack represents the primal instincts, the darkest, most savage part. Then there is the whole blonde hair-red hair contrast which strengthens this implication, as older beliefs considered fair hair to be of good will, while red hair was supposed to suggest evil.
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    • Also, Simon/Roger, with Simon being one of the most innocent children on the island, while Roger is one of the most savage ones.
  • Anvilicious: The book goes about preaching its message with the subtlety of a rhino in heat.
  • Awesome Music: Usually considered the best part about the 1990s film adaptation
  • Brain Bleach: Ralph appears to be in need of some at the end of the book, and the audience might want some too.
  • Broken Base: Any mention of a genderbent version of the film will result in a...less then pretty debate. Let's leave it at that.
  • Cargo Ship:
    • Piggy and the conch.
    • Roger and his rocks. Alternatively, Roger and his sharped-at-both-sides spear.
    • Ralph and the conch too. Also, Jack and pork.
    • Simon and the sow's head.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Jack Merridew has probably the most fans in the fandom, even though he's a jerk and control freak who quickly grows into a sociopathic mess. Roger also has a lot of fans.
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  • Ensemble Dark Horse: You'd be hard-pressed to find a reader who didn't like Simon. Roger as well — at least it's nice to see one character who has no charade about what he wants out of the island.
  • Fanfic Fuel: None of the boys' pasts is revealed in the book (except for some details about Ralph and Piggy), nor is their fate after the island.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: Fanfiction and fanart seem to prefer Jack/Ralph (Jalph) most of the time, even though there is fanwork with other couples too, like Roger/Simon, Jack/Roger and Ralph/Simon.
  • Fridge Horror: What will the boys, particularly Roger and Jack, be like when they become older? Could Roger, having killed Piggy and coming close to killing Ralph, be capable of much worse?
  • Foe Yay: Quite a lot, between Jack and Ralph. One particular quote: Now it was Ralph's turn to flush but he spoke despairingly [...] "Why do you hate me?" The boys stirred uneasily, as though something indecent had been said. The silence lengthened.
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  • Genius Bonus: Jack boasts that he should be leader because he can sing C Sharp. Stupid, right? It's actually a capability of Lucifer. Let that sink in.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Using a conch shell to represent authority. Though that episode was likely a reference to Lord of the Flies.
    • There's a number of stories about schoolteachers attempting to replicate the anarchy by leaving students alone and subtly (or blatantly) encouraging them to cause chaos, only for the students to not cause any trouble whatsoever.
  • Inferred Holocaust: The navy shows up at the end to rescue the boys. It seems like a happy ending... until you remember that a nuclear war had been going on at the start of the book, which means that Britain (and the rest of the world) is most likely in a sorry state. Not exactly the best thing to come home to after struggling for survival on a remote island.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • "I can sing C sharp."
    • "Sucks to your ass-mar."
    • Mark Twain's Lord of the Flies.
    • The Ho Yay (Foe Yay, too) between Jack and Ralph has become this in itself. There are some specific things that serve as sub-memes under this category:
      • That part where Jack and Ralph get extremely embarrassed because they need to make a fire by...rubbing two sticks together.
      • "Jack and Ralph smiled at each other in shy liking."
      • When Ralph apparently stares at Jack's shorts admiringly because they're sticking to him with sweat.
  • Misaimed Fandom: A recurrent idea that emerges from time to time is how a similar story would have played out with a mixed cast of boys and girls in the plane. This was addressed by Golding himself, giving an explanation of why he went for an all-male crew (although his reasons to do so are subject of Values Dissonance, so the whole notion might sound more like a case of They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot today).
    "The other thing is - why aren't they little boys AND little girls? Well, if they'd been little boys and little girls, we being who we are, sex would have raised its lovely head, and I didn't want this to be about sex. Sex is too trivial a thing to get in with a story like this, which was about the problem of evil and the problem of how people are to live together in a society, not just as lovers or man and wife."
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • The frenzied, hysterical killing of Simon by Jack and the other boys comes dangerously close to it. It's finally crossed (and in a very symbolic way) when Roger pushes a massive boulder down on Piggy, sending him flying off the cliff and to his death.
    • Oddly enough, the killing of a sow, with metaphors to make it sound like gang rape, is supposed to be the first indication the horizon has been crossed, or, at the very least, about to be crossed.
  • Narm:
    • Piggy's death in the 1963 film.
    • Same moment in the 90s film as well. Especially the way Ralph screams "NOOOOO!" before Piggy gets killed, and the deadpan pause after his head gets crushed.
    • The tribal dance around the fire in the second movie. The gratuitous slow motion didn't help, either.
    • Let's not forget that, with no dialog, the Lord's big scene in the 1963 movie becomes, essentially, Simon having a Staring Contest with the head.
  • One-Scene Wonder: The titular Lord of the Flies only appears at the end of chapter eight. However, it has an amazing impact and is probably one of the best scenes in the book.
  • One True Pairing: Depending on the preference: Jack/Ralph is for those who like a love/hate romance, Ralph/Simon for those who love a cute, wholesome romance, and Jack/Roger for those who are into a psycho dark romance between two psychos.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: "The real Lord of the Flies" involved six schoolboys in 1965 who stole a boat and were shipwrecked on the rocky island of 'Ata for 15 months. Unlike the novel published a decade earlier, the boys cooperated well, began each day with song and prayer, let a boy who broke his leg rest until he made a full recovery, and remained in excellent physical condition until they were rescued. The boys even kept a perpetual fire going throughout their entire shipwreck, unlike the boys in the novel who came to blows when they couldn't. After they were rescued, the man who owned the stolen boat pressed charges and they were arrested, but one of the boys had the brilliant idea to raise bail money by calling a TV station in Sydney and convincing them to create a documentary about their adventure.
  • Retroactive Recognition:
    • The Marine officer who rescues the boys in the 1990 film is played by the late Bob Peck, who would later go on to portray Robert Muldoon in Jurassic Park.
    • A young James Badge Dale portrays Simon in the same film.
    • One of the choir boys in the 1963 film would go on to be Spider-Man.
  • Special Effects Failure: Piggy's death by boulder to the head is meant to be a swift and shocking moment, as well as particularly brutal. But in the 90's film, the impact just has it bounce off of his chest almost weightlessly, a cartoonishly loud "THWACK" sound, and you get a solid second of seeing an unharmed Piggy falling backwards and blatantly tossing his things to the side before the camera cuts to blood suddenly spread across his head. Surprisingly, this is only half of the reason the scene jumps straight into Narm.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: The background music piece "Bacchanalia" from the 1990 movie sounds exactly like Stravinsky's Rite of Spring with the addition of a boys' choir.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: One of the main complaints about the 1990 film was how different it was from the novel and 1963 film, such as it being given a Setting Update to the late 80s/early 90s and changing the boys from British to American.
  • Toy Ship: All of the named characters in the book are, at most, just barely pubescent. For some reason, this doesn't seem to stop the fandom shipping them in every possible combination.
  • Values Dissonance:
    • The '63 film had prepubescent nudity. It was completely non-sexual and realistic, but because of the Pædo Hunt, modern audiences are met with shock and disgust at the film showing young boys' private parts.
    • Upon reviewing the 1990 film version, Roger Ebert argued that thanks to real-life violence amongst gang members, particularly in Chicago, where Ebert resided, the idea of kids killing each other is not as shocking as it was in 1954, when the book was first published, or 1963, when the original film was released. He also wrote that when the novel was first published, readers would have most likely sided with Ralph because of his humanist leanings, yet by 1990, world politics had changed to the extent that some readers might find themselves siding with capitalist Jack.
    • When news of an all female remake was announced, there was quite a bit of backlash with the (mostly female) detractors arguing that the book was about male power and that women "aren't going to act like that" when stranded on an island. The detractors point to Golding's intent and statements about aggressive boys and more fragile girls as proof of his themes. However, Golding's viewpoint comes across as outdated since more critical looks on gender, its roles and even the nature of the binary would question his simple and essentialist worldview, especially given that women are now more integrated into male professions and roles, while men who espouse survival of the fittest are viewed as "toxic". In essence, the modern day perception is that men and women are more likely to be the product of the environment that raises them, which could also fit the theme of the story. While the biological aspects of wherever this would work or not, or if social integration is enough to override binary pre-dispositions are up for debate, let's leave that to the experts since no one really has an answer yet.
    • Of course, another camp believes that the book's view on Humans Are the Real Monsters is outdated as a whole and that Humans Are Good when faced with peril, preferring cooperation to hostility. Let's hope they fair better with that idea than Simon and Piggy.
  • "Weird Al" Effect: Far fewer people remember the works (such as Two Years Vacation and Coral Island) that Lord of the Flies was parodying than they do Lord of the Flies itself. The fact that it was a Deconstructive Parody is also not well-known.
  • What an Idiot!:
    • Piggy telling Ralph about a nickname he doesn't want to be called.
    • When Simon discovers that the beast isn't real, he warns the other boys during a storm instead of waiting for it to pass. They mistake him for the beast and kill him.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not for Kids?: This book may be the Ur-Example of "just because it's about children doesn't mean it's for children." This mistake isn't usually made by native English speakers because of its cultural impact, but there have been cases of the book being included in English as a foreign language reading programmes for kids, presumably because the curriculum developers heard "literary classic" and "kids on a desert island" and stopped paying attention.
  • The Woobie: Piggy. He actually hates that nickname, but even Ralph insists on calling him that. We never learn his actual name. Plus he's asthmatic, nearsighted, and almost only valued because his glasses help create the fire. While he may be a Non-Action Guy, he (unlike Ralph) actually does Dare to Be Badass and confronts Jack and his vicious tribe. A pity it didn't save his life...


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