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Group Themed Reads: Discussions > Lord of the Flies - what did you think?

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message 1: by Jenny, honorary mod - inactive (new)

Jenny (notestothemoon) | 846 comments As usual, once you have read the book can you give me a mini review here.

What I want from you guys is:

A star rating out of 5 (exactly the same as Goodreads).


A brief description of what you thought about the book. Good story? Interesting? Insightful? Would you read some more of the author's work? Did you learn anything from reading it. etc.

At the end of the month I will post our average rating as a group and try to sum up what we all thought.

**Please remember to give me a star rating! A few keep remembering to comment but don't give me a rating. The more ratings the better**

message 2: by Kipahni (new)

Kipahni | 144 comments I give it a three. I wanted to give it 2 and 1/2 but the last 90 pages or so redeemed it for me. The characters weren't developed well enough for my liking, I didn't feel "emotionally invested" or hooked on like a page turner mystery. But I will say the symbolism and over all themes are what redeem it for me and that is why I rounded up.

message 3: by Jenny, honorary mod - inactive (new)

Jenny (notestothemoon) | 846 comments Any more for any more?

message 4: by Cecily (new)

Cecily | 576 comments 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). I'd probably give this 3.5 stars. If I'd read it "alone", without anyone else to bounce thoughts off, I'd round it down to 3, but reading it via a group tends to make one read deeper, so I'll go for 4****.

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 reader empathise with the boys’ confusion.

From the outset there are issues of priorities (Jack’s instant gratification of hunting or Ralph’s long term need for shelter and maintaining a fire signal) and leadership and it’s inevitable that standards of “civilization” will slip.

There is also an infectious fear of “the beast”, although whether it’s animal, airman, hallucination, symbolic or different at different points in the story is perhaps debatable. Certainly the tone of the book changes after Simon’s first encounter with Lord of the Flies.

Eventually the boys split into two groups: hunters who become ever more “savage” in appearance and behaviour and the remainder who want to retain order, safety, common sense – and their lives. Why is the obedient and angelic choir that turn to savagery - does the fact they have an identified leader, who isn't the overall leader once they're on the island, contribute? One also wonders how the story might be different if it was a mixed sex group, or even an all girl group.

It illustrates how petty bullying can be condoned and encouraged within groups (exacerbated by rituals, chanting, body markings etc) and how it can escalate to much worse. Nevertheless, one of the main victims, Piggy, is proud of his differences, demonstrates knowledge and intelligence and actually grows in confidence as his leader looses his.

It questions whether it is power or the environment that makes some of the boys so bad (echoes of Zimbardo’s prison experiments and Milgram’s obedience experiments) or the more Christian concept of original sin. Other Christian analogies can be read into snakes, devils, self sacrifice. And then there are the conch and fire as symbols of order, compared with the warpaint etc of the warriors. Lots to think about, but hardly the stuff that dreams are made of.

message 5: by Kim (new)

Kim | 3 comments I read this book a long time ago in school and I remember loving it. I just joined this group, otherwise I would have gladly re-read it with you!

message 6: by Brenda (last edited Apr 04, 2009 07:38PM) (new)

Brenda | 70 comments I read this several years ago and absolutely hated it. I'd give it one star out of five and would not have finished it were it not for a course in high school. I did not find the savagery believable and still do not believe we are inherently evil, not as evil as Golding tries to make us believe. Very disturbing novel.

message 7: by Jenny, honorary mod - inactive (new)

Jenny (notestothemoon) | 846 comments 3 stars out of 5

I really don't know what to make of this book. I actually thought it was really good up until the end. For me the ending seemed rushed and left me disappointed. I am actually quite shocked that this is read in schools. Some of the book's content is quite disturbing and unpleasant. The book left me thinking, would this really happen if a group of young boys were abandoned on an island? Some of it yes, most of it, I don't think so.

message 8: by Cecily (new)

Cecily | 576 comments Yes, it is pretty grim, isn't it.

As for studying it in schools, it depends on the age and maturity of the pupils, but it raises important issues, so if taught and discussed properly, I think it could be very worthwhile. More relevant with boys than girls, perhaps, but there is so much violence condoned in society (films and games especially), that discussing it for real is probably good.

message 9: by [deleted user] (new)

I would rate this novel 2/5.

I thought it covered some relevant topics, but I was not a fan of the writing style or content. The whole story was very grim and disturbing. Due to the unexciting writing style, no, I would not read more by William Golding.

message 10: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 18222 comments Wow! I didn't even know this thread existed!

I'm with you Maggie on this one - I rated it 2/5 too. I didn't like the writing style and there was a lack of engaging dialogue in my opinion. Then all the annoying characters, none of which I could relate to. The story had promise and I think if it has been written today (possibly by a different author), it would be epic!

Maggie the Muskoka Library Mouse (mcurry1990) Not my cup of tea. I did not find this book enjoyable at all.

message 12: by Janice, Moderator (new)

Janice (jamasc) | 51425 comments I had to read the book for school. I tried reading it a second time and it was a dnf.

message 13: by Kristie, Moderator (new)

Kristie | 14867 comments I was the same. I had to read it for school and did not like it at all. I never tried to reread it as an adult because I have such negative associations with it.

message 14: by Renee (new)

Renee (elenarenee) | 1649 comments This us one of the few books I feel should be burned. LOL just kidding no book should be burned. JUST DO NOT EVER MAKE ME READ IT AGAIN.

message 15: by Canadian Dragon (new)

Canadian Dragon | 1020 comments Yup I definitely don’t want to read this one again

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