Thursday, October 14, 2010

Books: Lord of the Flies

Oh, you know, the one you were supposed to read in high school. Sophomore year. Ms. What's-Her-Name who tried to allude to things in the book that we, as sophomores, were not quite ready for. I remember thinking, even then, that her suggestions were a little inappropriate. Isn't it sad that is what stood out to me from her class? That, and her horrible, horrible handwriting.

Back on topic! Lord of the Flies was a book I had been wanting to read again. I actually tried to read it a few years ago, and didn't make it through the book (again). I found the book at a thrift store this summer, and I think it was even in Monroeville, Alabama! (If you, for some reason, know why Monroeville is an important stop in American literature, feel free to post a comment!)

Back on topic again - This book makes me sad. Sure, it's about a bunch of British boys landing on an island and striving to survive by making their own rules and they eventually deteriorate into a group of wild animals, and that would make any feeling person sad. Instead, I'm sad that this book has such great potential, but doesn't quite get there. The characters are wonderful. The plot is intense. The allusions are timeless. The writing... isn't that great. William Golding had so many essentials right there for him, but he jumps around, is unclear about many scene changes, and could have added so much more. What I don't understand is how a story with such great characters, important moral choices, and a great plot line is so hard to keep reading. I kept reading because I wanted to finish it and because I want to know what happened in the end.

One of those reasons is not a great reason for finishing a book. A book should hold its own weight without having to be "a classic" or "a must-read" or "one of those books I had to read for high school so I feel redeemed for actually having read it" for it to be finished. It should get finished because the writing is spectacular and because the reader just can't help herself.


  1. I taught this novel for three years in a row! Hahaha.
    There is a lot about it in cliff notes :)

    The best essay test I got from a student likened the coming of the captain (was that his rank?) on the beach to the second coming of Christ. He drew a conclusion I hadn't come to or found in Cliff's notes...anyway. I thought the book interesting, but might not teach it these days.

  2. wow! what a great conclusion on that student's part. That actually makes sense. My book had an interview in the back with the author, and he talked about how the little world the boys had created was "play" to this captain, while the captain was heading off into his own crazy war games himself.