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Lord of the Flies

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3.67  ·  Rating details ·  1,965,858 ratings  ·  32,615 reviews
Librarian's note: Alternate cover editions can be found here, here, here and here.

When a plane crashes on a remote island, a small group of schoolboys are the sole survivors. From the prophetic Simon and virtuous Ralph to the lovable Piggy and brutish Jack, each of the boys attempts to establish control as the reality - and brutal savagery - of their situation sets in.

The
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Mass Market Paperback, 202 pages
Published December 16th 2003 by Perigee (first published September 17th 1954)
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Kim I just read this book for the first time. I am 54 years old and never had to read it in high school or college. I really enjoyed it much more than a…moreI just read this book for the first time. I am 54 years old and never had to read it in high school or college. I really enjoyed it much more than a lot of the books I DID have to read in school. I can now check this great classic off my reading bucket list.(less)
Gwendolyn Neal The story is told by an omniscient narrator, however, at various points in the story it seems "closer" to certain characters, and tells the story…moreThe story is told by an omniscient narrator, however, at various points in the story it seems "closer" to certain characters, and tells the story through the lens of different characters' thoughts. Most often this character is Ralph, but there's a few very important scenes where it's Simon. (less)

Community Reviews

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3.67  · 
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 ·  1,965,858 ratings  ·  32,615 reviews


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Nora
Sep 25, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who don't need a plot or characterization to enjoy a book.
Shelves: crap
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 t
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Silvana
Jan 31, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, dark-matter
This book is horrifying. I'm scared like hell. Totally.
I was expecting an adventure book telling about some children who got stranded in an island, but ended up with goosebumps.

A bit of synopsis: A number of English school boys suffered from a plane accident causing them to get stranded in an uninhibited island. The period was maybe during the World War II. Trying to be civilized, they elected a leader for themselves as well started the division of tasks (hunters, fire-watchers, etc). Things tur
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Emily May
Dec 05, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
Kids are evil. Don't you know?

I've just finished rereading this book for my book club but, to be honest, I've liked it ever since my class were made to read it in high school. Overall, Lord of the Flies doesn't seem to be very popular, but I've always liked the almost Hobbesian look at the state of nature and how humanity behaves when left alone without societal rules and structures. Make the characters all angel-faced kids with sadistic sides to their personality and what do you have? Just your
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Nancy
Jan 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, classics
Lord of the Flies is one of the most disturbing books I've ever read. It was required high school reading and since then, I've read it four more times. It is as disturbing now as it was then. Using a group of innocent schoolboys stranded on an island, the author very realistically portrays human behavior in an environment where civilization no longer has meaning.
Sean Barrs the Bookdragon
“We did everything adults would do. What went wrong?”

For me, this quote sums up the entire book. It’s a powerful exploration of humanity and the wrongness of our society and it also demonstrates the hypocrisy of war. Adults judge the behaviour of children, but are they really any better? I think not.

The scary thing about this book is how real it is. The Lord of the Flies bespeaks the brilliance of realistic dystopian fiction, it gives you a possible world scenario, a bunch of very human cha
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Lisa
"We did everything adults would do. What went wrong?"

You did everything adults would do. That's what went wrong.

There is much to be said against this novel, and it has been said, eloquently, poignantly, many times. Let me make a case for keeping it on the curriculum despite the dated language, the graphic violence, the author's personality...

There are two myths about adolescents, and this novel does away with them in a - admittedly - drastic way. First of all, there is no general innocence in ad
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Lyn
Jul 31, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Years after I read this masterpiece, it is still chilling.

Golding spins a yarn that could have been told centuries ago, primal human nature unmoored from civilization does not take long to break away and devolve into a feral thing.

As good today, and as haunting, as it was when it was published in 1954. This should be on a list of books that must be read.

** 2018 addendum - it is a testament to great literature that a reader recalls the work years later and this is a book about which I frequently
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Henry Avila
Nov 17, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A British airplane on fire crashes on a deserted isolated South Sea's island, in the middle of an atomic war set in the near future . All the grown-ups are killed and only children 12 and younger survive, how are they to cope (basically an allegorical story of what is human nature , good or evil ?) . Ralph is chosen leader, "Piggy" his intellectual sidekick he wears glasses, this beautiful green tropical coral isle with a blue lagoon magnificent palm trees, better yet coconut trees too and plent ...more
Mk
Feb 25, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Mk by: required high school reading
I hated this book. First off, as I remember, it talks about humans failure to govern ourselves, or more broadly the failures of human nature. There are a few reasons why I think simply dropping a group of kids on a desert island does not in fact prove anything.

1) These kids were raised in a capitalist, nominally demcratic society. The first thing they do is appoint leaders. As someone who spends my time working in consensus based groups seeking to challenge hierarchical structures, I have a stro
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Virginia Ronan ♥ Herondale ♥
”They accepted the pleasures of morning, the bright sun, the whelming sea and sweet air, as a time when play was good and life so full that hope was not necessary and therefore forgotten.”

So this was a book many people had to read when they went to school and in some way this already says a lot about “Lord of the Flies”. Like so many of the books that are required to be read during people’s educational careers this one wasn’t only full of serious topics but also dealt with ethical values.

I mean
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Andrew
Aug 22, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was tempted to give this five stars, since in so many ways it strikes me as the kind of masterpiece, like Heart of Darkness, that I imagine will retain its horror and readability for centuries. The prose veers (or as Golding would say it, "tends") from plain to painterly. The story is well known: a sort of allegorical morality play set in modern times -- fancy English boys left to their own devices don't so much as revert to darkness as discover primitive outlets for the darkness reflected in ...more
Cecily
A hard book to rate as although its well written and is very thought provoking, the content gets unpleasantly graphic and some aspects are awkwardly dated (eg the assumption the British boys should be jolly good chaps - “we’re not savages, we’re English”).

Plot

It starts off as a conventional adventure: a mixed group of boys (some know each other; many who don’t) survive a plane crash on a desert island and struggle to survive. It is somewhat confused and confusing at first – perhaps to make the r
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Glenn Sumi
LORD OF THE REREADINGS

A couple of months ago, I picked up To Kill A Mockingbird, a book I last read in high school. What fascinated me about the exercise was how much I remembered and how much I didn’t, what I appreciated as a child and what I do now.

After that, I began wondering how I would respond to the other books I had to read and analyze as a youth. Hence my rereading of Lord Of The Flies. It’s equally powerful – shocking, even by today’s standards. And it’s all very efficiently done.

Both
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Helen (Helena/Nell)
Jul 07, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone.
Recommended to Helen (Helena/Nell) by: My dad.
Over the years I must have read this book five or six times. Last night I was reading it on a train with a highlighter in my hand, because I decided to teach it this year again. Teachers wreck books, of course. We all know that. On the other hand, whatever you have to study-read, you tend to carry a bit of it with you. You don't forget that book, at least. Although I must add, that it's quite risky introducing to a Scottish classroom a book with the memorable words: "The English are best at ever ...more
Yulia
Jul 13, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: criminal-intent
I was Piggy (well, in personality at least, though not in portliness). I hated everyone who picked on him. I still do. Should people be forgiven for what they do on a deserted island? That depends on whether you think their true nature has revealed itself, or their humanity has been corrupted by circumstance and stress. In a world where almost every human trait is now considered a product of both nature and nurture, would Golding have written his tale differently today? No, I don't believe so. H ...more
David
Jul 24, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: cynical, pessimistic people, and students in English boarding schools
I just don't buy it.

This book is famous for unmasking what brutes we are, just under the surface, but, well, for all the hype, it just isn't convincing. People--even teenage boys--just aren't as savage as Golding seems to want us to believe, and nothing in this book persuades me otherwise.

Perhaps if I'd gone to English boarding school I'd feel differently--but then that's the real irony of this book, that the brutality from which the British Empire was supposed to save so many people and culture
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Aj the Ravenous Reader
Feb 13, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Aj the Ravenous Reader by: Sabah


I only know that Lord of the Flies is an extremely popular classic book but I have zero idea on what it’s about and I must say, this is completely unexpected and until now I’m not sure if that’s in a good way or bad. ^^ The premise is without a doubt ingenious- a group of kids castaway in an island? Sounds like a partaayy! Tom Hanks would have loved to jump in if only he weren’t an adult.^^



And party it was at the greater half of the book which mostly consisted of:

1. Purposeless assemblies
2. A lo
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Ginger
Jul 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
DAMN!!
I think reading this book as an adult affects me more. You come to realize that things and circumstances can change drastically with no rules or repercussions.

I really loved Lord of the Flies and think everyone should read this one day. It's not a long book but it will make an impression on you.

It makes you think and dread what would happen if...
“Maybe there is a beast… maybe it's only us.”

The writing of William Golding was well done and detailed on the breakdown of humanity and sensibilit
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Gothadh
Jun 01, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely hated this book. That's my over-riding memory of it I'm afraid. I had to read it in secondary school when I was about 12 and I never remember disliking a book so much which was surprising as I was a voracious reader.

I just remember having absolutely nothing in common with the characters - a group of English upper / middle class school boys whereas I was a Scottish working class girl. I just could not relate to the story at all and just wished they would all kill each other as soon a
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Natalie Vellacott
Sep 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
This book shocked me. Not so much because of the content, I will come onto that, but because my gentle, kind, mother recommended it to me. My mum who mutes the TV when a swear word is coming up and who can't stand any type of violence recommended a book that involves children killing each other. Perhaps in her case familiarity has rendered the content less offensive--she studied it in high school and it had her childish scrawls all the way through, also entertaining! That said, there was a lot t ...more
Johann (jobis89)
Apr 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“What are we? Humans? Or animals? Or savages?”

Lord of the Flies is now one of those books I WISH I had studied in school, I’d have loved to have delved deeper into the symbolic meanings and themes, instead of just having my basic reader experience! There’s probably so much I’m missing... it almost makes me want to read through the spark notes for the novel!

It really provides a fascinating insight into how quickly chaos can ensue once civilisation ceases to exist. And it’s somehow even more terri
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Joshua Nomen-Mutatio
BOYS WILL BE BOYS THERE'S A PIG'S HEAD.
James
Book Review
3 out of 5 stars to Lord of the Flies, a coming-of-age novel written in 1954 by William Golding, who was a Nobel Prize winner. Most people have either read this book during middle/high school (in America or Great Britain), or have heard of it because of its supposed cannibalism story line. But wait... it wasn't cannibalism -- huge exaggeration to set straight, right from the beginning. But let's back up... At a time of war, a group of pre-teen boys are in a plane that crashed onto
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Mario
Jun 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Maybe there is a beast… maybe it's only us.


This book doesn't fall under horror category, right? Then why did it scare living crap out of me?

Lord of the Flies is a story about a group of boys who get marooned on one island after their plane crashed. Now, from the first page of this book, I had this uneasy feeling for some reason. And the more I read, the more that feeling grew. I've already heard that this book was not an easy book to read and that there were some pretty disturbing scenes. But st
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Evgeny
Mar 31, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classic
A group read with a bunch of Pantaloonless Buddies.

A group of young boys are dumped on a small island in the middle of Atlantic. The reason for this is very sketchy and the tale starts right after this event. For a while it was all fun and games until it was not: primitive instincts took over and for kids it became kill-or-be-killed survival.
Robinson Crusoe

This book was hailed by some critics as the best novels written in English. This is also an undisputed classic and a required reading in high school. It d
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Leore
4.5 stars!
I was considering giving this book 2 stars at about halfway through. I was bored. And more bored, and I just couldn’t understand why people liked this book so much. Then I read the second half and woah it took me by surprise. I had so many feelings reading this book; sadness, anger but also happiness and at many points yes, I was confused but it only made me want to read on to know more.

I’m glad I read this as it’s on the ‘fifty books to read before you die’ challenge and also as I rea
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Jason Koivu
Jun 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I've got the conch now, so listen up!

In Lord of the Flies Golding deconstructed civilization, wiping it out and showing us our world in chaos. It's not pretty. Man without governance is apt to slide into savagery. At first the castaway children on this deserted isle set up rules and leadership, but law and order is overwhelmed when the majority discover there is no immediate consequence if they give in to their wants and desires. In the place of civility, a brutal world is born in which might is
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Em Lost In Books
yup, i have now ticked box where it says this book is one of the must read classics and i think that's the highlight of my reading experience that i have with this story.

there are many things that are hard to believe about this story, like why only teenagers got stranded on the island? other than few no one said anything about going home? violence among these kids is not such a big thing as this is a common occurrence nowadays. this book depicts how easily humans could turn violent, and their de
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Matthew
My second reading and still just 4 stars. Some people give it five stars for the classic that it is, but for me it is a good book, but does not blow me away.

I did the audio this time and I highly recommend it. It is read by the author and his forward and afterward are pretty funny.

As mentioned a couple of paragraphs above - it is a classic and should be read by all. It may not be some people's cup of tea, but for the time it came out it is unique and has led to almost any survival story that loo
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Riku Sayuj
Aug 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

This tends to me among the top five books I recommend to anyone who cares to ask.

Questioning and undermining Rousseau's 'noble savage' was one of its essential goals (as Alan mentions below), hence the positioning of a classic dystopia in an idyllic setting and the choice of 'boy-scout' perfect protagonists. It is as good a dystopic novel as they come. And essential because most dystopic novels were set in urban settings, giving the illusion that extreme control leads to dystopia. Golding shows
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Catching up on Cl...: Lord of the Flies - SPOILERS 25 147 Jun 11, 2019 08:05PM  
what would happen if the kids were little girls instead of boys? 218 2628 May 08, 2019 06:09PM  
How long were they on the island? 16 1110 May 05, 2019 11:52PM  
EVERYONE Has Read...: Lord of the Flies Discussion - *SPOILERS* 42 336 Apr 02, 2019 07:47AM  
UCAS English 11 R...: March Reading Assignment 1 4 Mar 31, 2019 08:18PM  
UCAS English 11 R...: March Book Review 1 4 Mar 27, 2019 01:50PM  

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Sir William Gerald Golding was a British novelist, poet, and playwright best known for his 1954 novel Lord of the Flies. Golding spent two years in Oxford focusing on sciences; however, he changed his educational emphasis to English literature, especially Anglo-Saxon.

During World War II, he was part of the Royal Navy which he left five years later. His bellic experience strongly influenced his fut
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“Maybe there is a beast… maybe it's only us.” 3242 likes
“Ralph wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of man's heart, and the fall through the air of the true, wise friend called Piggy.” 1407 likes
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