Nora's Reviews > Lord of the Flies

Lord of the Flies by William Golding
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Sep 28, 07

bookshelves: crap
Recommended for: those who don't need a plot or characterization to enjoy a book.
Read in September, 2007

I read this book a long time ago, long enough to where I barely remembered anything past the basic premise. So I picked it up again, only to wish I hadn't. There's a reason why they teach this book in middle school--in order to enjoy this book, one's intellectual cognizance must be that of a child, because otherwise you'll spend the entire time picking out everything that's wrong with the book. And there's a lot to pick out.

From what little of the story that is actually coherent, I can see why this book has had a lasting effect on social commentary since it's initial publishing. The overlying illustration of how easily man can devolve back to his feral instincts is striking, yet could have been infinitesimally more effective in the hands of a decent writer.

See, I would have cared a bit more about the little island society of prepubescent boys and their descent into barbarism if you know, any of the characters had been developed AT ALL. Instead, we're thrown interchangeable names of interchangeable boys who are only developed enough to conform to the basic archetypes Golding requires to hobble his little story along: The Leader, The Rebel, The Fat-Kid, The Nose-Picker, etc. Were he born in this time, I believe Golding would have done brilliantly as a scriptwriter for reality TV.

And the plot? There's a plot? I'm guessing so, since things seem to happen, but it's kind of hard to tell since he spends pages describing irrelevant events that are never incorporated, characters that possibly exist yet probably don't, and using words that don't mean what he thinks they mean. And as the main characters are a bunch of kids not worth caring about, thus goes the way of the story.

And the prose? Dear God, the prose! Get it away! It burns us!

So yeah, this book sucked. It had potential. There were even a few parts I internally squealed at in hopeful anticipation. But whatever potential it did have was hopelessly squandered by a man who wrote like he'd never written anything before in his life. Don't waste your time.
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Comments (showing 1-50 of 102) (102 new)


message 1: by Eve (new) - rated it 5 stars

Eve Knezevich well said. I actually liked the book when i read it in 9th grade. I feel like I would still like it, even though all the things you said i can agree with. I dont think a book necissarily has to have plot or character development to be a good story. I mean, lots of people have gotten a kick out of the friggin sky and look at how much it changes. I don't know.


Dorkus Malorkus what? are you smoking chinese tiger balm? this story has so much character development and the environment is littered with description and symbolism.

maybe it isn't the davinci code, but come on!

do you really think that if thirty boys were left stranded on an island, they wouldn't turn nasty quick? have you ever been in a boy's locker room? now imagine if they couldn't get out for a month. dude... all those fools would kill one another. an excellent character study. go sucks to your assmar.


message 3: by Eve (new) - rated it 5 stars

Eve Knezevich :)
id be very surprised if you weren't in theater.
hey and dont dis chinese tiger balm. that stuff is the shit.
i wasnt saying it didnt i was just saying that a book doesnt have to have plot or character development to be a good story.
so you can take back that 'go sucks to your assamar'...whatever that means


Dorkus Malorkus supplies supplies... no theatre here. i work behind a desk and rock a serious button down shirt. jealous much (i wouldn't be).

but i was actually commenting on nora's review eh. and the assmar reference comes from the book.

i dunno what makes you think i'm a theatre kid just by how i write. it would be like making the assumption that you're a korean construction worker because you love tiger balm. how accurate is my deduction then watson?


message 5: by Nora (new) - rated it 1 star

Nora Yeah, um no, there was NO character development. But I expect to hear as much in a society where the utter shit that was The Da Vinci Code (thank you for the reminder) hits the bestseller list.

If you want to read a book with REAL character development, pick up a book by Dostoyevsky or Vonnegut. Perhaps had Golding the skill of one of those authors, the book would have been worth reading.


message 6: by Eve (new) - rated it 5 stars

Eve Knezevich where do you work?
and i still hold that even if youre not in theater youre still theatrical, desk job or no.
and how do you know im NOT a korean construction worker?


Dorkus Malorkus a society that praises bullshit? yeah... it's called the american society. you want to change the way america thinks? there ain't a stick long enough to provide that cultural enima.

then again, it's exactly why i love america. culture schmulture. look where culture brought the romans. pizza hut, chef boyardee, and a couple sweet movies. (cinema paradiso anyone. best movie ever)

to eve. i buy and sell home remodelling/ construction products like hardwood flooring and windows. it may not be the worst job in the world, but there can and should be better use of my time rather than haggling over pennies and counting stock of tiles.

so my question is... are YOU a theatre rat? have you graced a spotlight on center stage and owned the audience int he palm of YOUR hands? does the thought of uttering the dane's name give you the willy's? do you eat macaroni and cheese five days a week and live in either new york, chicago, or los angeles?

do you know kung fu? it comes in handy if you're asian.


message 8: by Eve (new) - rated it 5 stars

Eve Knezevich actually i'm a musician, but family has a history of being theater 'rats', unfortunately.
i wish i ate macaroni and cheese five days a week. havent had that shit in the longest time.
los angeles, yes, unfortunately again. soon to be either tucson, arizona or santa cruz, california.
i took jujitsu when i was younger, and even though im WHITE (clearing that up right now) im sure it would come in handy anyways.
what would you rather be doing (if you dont mind my asking)?


Dorkus Malorkus well you make such a strong case for theatre; it sounds like it would be a lot of fun. a lot of no money having fun... how bout writing and directing. a secret dream of mine has always been writing for snl. don't ask why. haven't watched the show in a couple years, but i would love it.

santa cruz is nice. it's actually right over a hill from me (in san jose). i hope you like hippies, crazy building laws (no building can be taller than the tallest tree?!?!?!), and crowded beaches. BUT!!! if you can find a couple private beaches, it actually ain't half bad of a town. did i mention the hippies? hope your tunes be crunchy.

la-la land ain't half bad. traffic can be a doozy. and being white is a plus. i've had visions of kerouac-ing across the country only to have my dreams squashed by easy rider (and a friend from arkansas told me that his town has a couple viet-vets who don't take too kindly to the wide slanties).

rock and roll miss eve. though we may never meet, it's refreshing to know that there are indeed cool people on this internet doohicky. seriously... i don't think you've n00bed or pwned me just yet.


message 10: by Eve (new) - rated it 5 stars

Eve Knezevich oh you just wait. you wont know what pwned you.
ha.
thanks though. :)
i write some stuff. gawd in middle school i wrote the emo-ist poetry. so emberassing.
besides being crazy and theater, my family is also veeeery hippie so im sure id like it there in da cruz.
i think most of america doesnt take too kindly to the 'wide slanties'.
though im in my little california bubble, so i wouldnt know.
my tunes be not crunchy per se...more snapcracklepopy
ive actually been classicaly trained for the last 6.5yrs, so not really tunes per se, but im hopin to end up with some. :)
la's not half bad..its all bad. such a gross city.
ah yes! i have not heard doohicky in such a long time. that and h-e double toothpicks.




Melissa W I agree with your comments and you are so right in that there is no character development and I don't know what dorkus was smoking when he posted his comments. Not everybody is going to like the book.


Dorkus Malorkus no character development?!?!?! how? ralph has to change from resourceful leader to hunted animal. piggy has to accept his place as the brains, but with no clout to have his plans met. simon goes from lackey to the most grounded character in the book. and jack is that guy who takes action without thinking things through. maybe it's not dickens, (who is the most descripted writer to a fault) but if you can't see the chracter changes, then you just don't know how to read and connect pieces.


Melissa W I can see character changes, but by the time they were being made closer to the end of this particular book, I was only interested in getting the book done.

I have read a lot of books where there is plenty of character development, but the book was one that I just wanted to get done; for me, everything seemed to just meld together by the end.


message 14: by Nora (new) - rated it 1 star

Nora Dorkus, one of the first things that is taught in ANY creative writing exercise is to "show, not tell."

Now it can be argued that when in the hands of a skilled writer, narrative exposition can be just as effective at communicating the emotion or theme intended by the author.

However, Golding was neither skilled at showing or telling. The entire book is filled with two-dimensional characters whose thoughts and actions are driven by a plot that follows a very rudimentary idea of logical progression, and ultimately FAILS to adequately prove why it's applicable in the first place.

Remember, just because shit happens in a book, doesn't mean it's any GOOD.


Dorkus Malorkus and remember also that just because you don't like a book, doesn't mean your opinions are valid in any way. you're knocking a book that has stood the test of time, has been parodied and re-tooled for films/television, and is usually on every book critics top 100 list. why? because you don't know what you're talking about. oh yeah. mayhaps you should get your nose out of your new boxcar children book, and SHOW me some specific examples of how the characters aren't well presented, and TELL them to me instead of your rapant raving and mud throwing at a dead author.


message 16: by Nora (new) - rated it 1 star

Nora In order for me to SHOW you with examples of poor characterization and plot development, I'd have to re-type the whole damn book. This is my point. Sorry if I failed to make that clear.

You mention how just because I dislike a book does not mean my opinion is valid. Using this logic, what makes yours valid then? Because a few book critics agree with you? That's great, as the whole concept of critical interpretation is to give one's opinion. I'm also pretty sure that it's the entire point of having a 'review and comments' section on this site.

You disagree with my opinion? Fine, let's agree to disagree. But kindly stop commenting under the ruse of engaging a literary discussion when in actuality you are merely firing off inflammatory remarks at myself and the two others who have commented, all while failing to provide a single, concrete example to back your stance and convince anyone otherwise. It's pointless and highly uncalled for.

Cheers.


Dorkus Malorkus i reply to a challenge. if you don't want an angry response, try adding some tendness in your words.

and i have a coment about this book that you may have overlooked. people who hate this book are generally angry people who will serve shit, but will raise hell when it's served right back.

but i'm just kidding. all this teasing may mean that i love you. do i hear wedding bells? ha ha.


Jessica I think that a lot of people thought the characters were flat because they were stock characters.

The kids weren't meant to be individuals, but rather used to represent the human condition.

It can be argued that the three main characters are the ego,id, and superego. The "bad" kids represent the temptation of society and our animal instincts.

There are no heroes in this book, even the good guys are guilty of murder due to a group mentality, and a need to belong.

I love this book, but only after I taught it. When i read it alone I hated it. I think it needs to be read in a group and deeply analyzed using several different modes of analysis.

It is a great conversation starter in the classroom, leading to questions like "Is it possible to be intrinsically evil?" and "How much are you shaped by those around you?"






message 19: by Matt (new) - added it

Matt Really? 1 star? And you're claiming it completely lacks character development because it's not Dostoevsky? Seems a bit harsh to me. All I can say is I consider myself someone with pretty discerning taste, and I read this for the first time at the age of 27 and thought it was very good. Can't get over the fact that you think this honestly deserves ONE star. To each his (or her) own I suppose.


Don Incognito Hello. Your review sounds snobbish, Nora, but I did learn something that I hadn't noticed--that the boys' characterizations are not very deep. (I would argue that Ralph gains depth at the end, though, when he cries for "the darkness of man's heart.") So thanks for posting it; it was valuable. oh, and calling one of the archetypes "nose-picker" was funny.


Simon Scarrow You see, this is what is wrong with websites like this. It gives a platform, albeit small, for the airing of ill thought out views. Still, that's democracy, and maybe it helps provoke debate.


message 22: by Yas (last edited Nov 27, 2009 01:07PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Yas Dorkus wrote: "i reply to a challenge. if you don't want an angry response, try adding some tendness in your words.

and i have a coment about this book that you may have overlooked. people who hate this book a..."


Learn to spell and use caps in the appropriate places before criticising other people! I have only just started but not enthralled at all. I like character developments and no this book has none.


Henrwhitney1 The whole point of the story was to show that all men are evil at the core. They where stranded on an island in the middle of no where, during some sort of war. (so the adults are blowing each other up... aka evil at the core), and he used these proper british boys to show that even children have this evil tendency (it is not somthing learned but something we are born with). There is character development and you can see that if you look at the book and actually think about what you are reading. Ralph and jack are not the same boys they were in the begining of the story. When the story began would Ralph have taken responsiblity for what happened on the island or would he have blamed it on jack (since Jack was trying to hunt him down and kill him). Or would you think that the coior boy Jack would turn in to such a blood thursty monstor. Whould you think that simion who faints when we first meet him, would you think he would have become such a chrit like figure? This book is a great story, it shows the bad and the ugly of the human spirt.


message 24: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa Eve wrote: "well said. I actually liked the book when i read it in 9th grade. I feel like I would still like it, even though all the things you said i can agree with. I dont think a book necissarily has to hav..."

i had to read this book this year. Im a freshman in high school. worse book ever!


Don Incognito Vanessa wrote: "Eve wrote: "well said. I actually liked the book when i read it in 9th grade. I feel like I would still like it, even though all the things you said i can agree with. I dont think a book necissaril..."

Haven't read Twilight, eh?




message 26: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa Josh wrote: "Vanessa wrote: "Eve wrote: "well said. I actually liked the book when i read it in 9th grade. I feel like I would still like it, even though all the things you said i can agree with. I dont think a..."

i simply love twilight , read all the books in one month(:


Don Incognito Seeing that we are unfamiliar with sarcasm, I shall duck out of this conversation...


message 28: by Aubrey (last edited Feb 21, 2010 05:57PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Aubrey No, yor wrong you have to be in "middle school" to understand this piece of lit. An adult can not appricate the symbols and fig. Language in this book. I bet you dont even understand most of this book so you do not like it.

=(


Swantonist i actually liked this book a lot.

And just because it is "not like Dostoevsky" in one respect doesn't make this a terrible book. And the girl, Vanessa, who says she simply loves twilight. Well, Oh, my Gawd.


message 30: by Patrice (new)

Patrice Seriously? No Character Development? The theme of the book basically says that all human beings have a side of evil within them and IF they LET that evil gain sway it will corrupt all civilization, reason and right thinking. Throughout the book even the Antagonist character develops. No, it may not be in a positive direction, BUT you do have to admit that Jack develops from a jealous choir leader to a vicious killer.


Ilovefreshbooks Ahhh, one star, really? I should think the book deserves more than that. I thought the story nicely disturbing enough. Haha, Josh, to quote good old Holden Caulfield, that just about "killed me".


Elise No character development?! Tell me, do the Harry Potter characters develop in the 6 million pages written about them? I don't think they do. Lord of the Flies is less than 200 pages and it has a great deal of character development. The characters have quite a bit of depth. I feel they go beyond the stereotypes.
Not all books have to have a plot but this book definitely went somewhere.
It seems like your rating for this book weighted more heavily on the "fun factor" than anything else.


Santoso Dodging the debate about whether there is a substantial character development at all, I am curious why character development alone (for the sake of character development, it sounds like) must be the litmus test of any worthy literary work. According to your review, it should be.


Kenneth Jun I wouldn't used this book to talk about character development if I were to teach this to a class but I'd use it to talk about symbolism. I loved how the main characters symbolized different parts of society.

Golding style of writing isn't my favorite but his work deserves to be acknowledged. It makes a statement and it made me think. I'm glad I read this again as an adult.

And I don't think the only reason this book is read in almost every school because "only a middle school would understand it". Think about what it teaches. It's a little poignant, ya know. :P


Winston I agree with you! However, i think the point isn't the plot or character development or even the prose. It's the quick and clear development of lines in society. For that, this book is great.


Manuel I disagree with you I'm afraid, nothing he describes in the book is ever irrelevant to the story, everything is symbolic and important to understand the actual theme of the book, being that man is essentially animalistic at heart. Everything is important if you read closely. If you don't understand the symbolism in each item, such as the Vines, Signal Fire, Piggy's Glasses, the Spears, the Huts, the Beast, Jack's Face Paint, the Flies, even things that would seem so insignificant such as the fact that the words Beast and Jack became taboo are symbolic at heart. So unless you fully take the time to look into the deeper meaning of each character, you'll see that all of these characters and items are relevant and crucial to the story, especially when Piggy is Voice of reason, and is MURDERED, does not die on his own. As Simon was also MURDERED, trying on his own to be a voice of reason. The entire book's foundation is the fact that symbolism is the weight in the story, and that is what makes this book so amazing and beautiful.


message 37: by Anna (new) - rated it 3 stars

Anna I feel so so so so so bad for Simon and Piggy. Why did they have to die the way they did?


Manuel It needed to be that they were murdered, because the children are choosing to get rid of civility. So if Simon and Piggy (The Mediator, and Voice of Reason) were to die naturally, it wouldn't show that the kids are the cause of their own savagery. This shows they truly resent rules and civility and want their own way.


Lizzibeth Sounds like you completely missed the point.


message 40: by Anna (new) - rated it 3 stars

Anna I am just saying it's an awful way to die...just simply awful and heartbreaking.


Adria Sounds like you didn't get the point of this book at all, since it's definitely not about the plot or character development. It's about Wiliam Golding's own feelings that humans are evil in nature and he shows the readers that when he places young boys by themselves on the island. I personally loved this book and I loved how the boys' actions would actually disturb me while reading it. It was like everything that went on in the book could actually happen.
This book is RICH with symbolism. There's the glasses that symbolize intelligence/sight (which get crushed, moving along the reversion to savagery theme), the signal fire, the conch (this was my favorite symbolic item; I thought it was great how it was completely dissolved, showing order on the island was too), and of course the boys representing Freudian psychology. My other favorite symbolic message/ part of the book was the dead pilot that symbolized the absence of the adult world.
Then there's the conditioning moving to extinction that you can see in Roger, and it just makes you wonder why people do as they're told.
Anyway I think it's sad you can't appreciate this book, but to each their own.


message 42: by Jeremy (last edited Jul 16, 2011 07:28AM) (new)

Jeremy Cort muggle... wtb dislike button.


Leila Um. Lol. The characters are not SUPPOSED to be "deep" or have much development. How did you miss that? It seems like you missed the entire message of the book. Maybe try reading it again with less expectation for something that isn't meant to be there in the first place.


Kenyon Aw, did your mommy help you use all those smart-sounding words? just because it is not as good as it could have been does not mean you should give it just one star. following such logic, nothing would ever get five stars.


Nadia I thought the novel had quite a bit of character development, but I guess that's just your opinion. It's interesting to read a review of this novel from your perspective, especially since I thoroughly enjoyed this book.


message 46: by Dylan (new)

Dylan on the topic that this book has no character development, i believe you are wrong. though some character development is left out and the author uses interchangeable names most of the time. this is because the author doesn't want us to develop an attachment to those characters, he focuses the development on four characters, simon, ralph, jack and piggy, i could write a million pages of bad grammered rants about this but this is my 2 cents


Vicki G LOL at the cognizance has to be that of a child, b/c Stephen King said this is his favorite book.
And he was an adult when he said it, and he still recommends it to people.
I hated the book, and I've disliked almost all the other books he suggested. He has a long list of suggested reading at the end of 'On Writing,' a book I also didn't like as much as other books on the craft of writing. Mostly b/c OTHER writers don't think they deserve to take more than 40 pages telling you about his family and then turn around and accuse you of PENALIZING his family. But never mind.
I just think it's hilarious that another person thinks his mind must be like a child's.


message 48: by Julia (new) - rated it 1 star

Julia GREAT REVIEW! For our jounior high book report we had to read a classic and write a review. One of the requirements was that we had to quote somebody who shared our opinion on the book. This review was PERFECT! Great help, thanks! (AND it was written on my birthday!:)


Catherine Oh, but I had to read it in school, and I hated it then too. Just takes too long to describe the scenery, and confused the hell out of me.


Teresa Choe Do you even understand the book... It's so ironic, symbolic, well-written and subtle that you have to give the guy an extra star for effort. Just kidding, but I'm in 10th grade and I find this book to be SO well-written. At first I found it tedious and dull, but Golding obviously put imagery to good use.. At the beginning of the book, everything is pink and beachy and at the end, it's in flames. And if you haven't noticed, but Jack turns fun-and-games to mere savage life. He turns into a savage! Is that not character development? And these people are children........ Theyre not supposed to be fully developed. That's why it's so easy to break free into savages. Finally, they're replaceable because they symbolize everyday people, a mass crowd, society, normal everyday people. I'm sorry, it just seems like you don't get it. Have a good day!


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