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Lord of the Flies
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New School Classics- 1900-1999 > Lord of the Flies - SPOILERS

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message 1: by Christine (new) - added it

Christine | 1217 comments This thread is for discussion of the specific content of our July 2016 New School Group Read selection, Lord of the Flies by William Golding. Feel free to post and discuss spoilers in this thread.


message 2: by Sue (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sue K H (sky_bluez) | 3330 comments I finished the book last night and gave it 4 stars as a young adult book. As an adult, I longed for more character development because while I do believe there can be people who are evil with no explanation, more often than not there is a nurture element.

I read this book long ago in school and remembered the basics, but it was nice to read it again from an adult perspective. Now I see the symbolism as a bit heavy handed but may be that's part of being young adult literature? I'm not sure. I did still enjoy the book.

This is my review (if linking works) . I don't summerize plot points or characters in my reviews, mine are very general. https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


Melanti | 2384 comments Sue wrote: "... while I do believe there can be people who are evil with no explanation, more often than not there is a nurture element. ..."

Well, yes and no. There's a "herd mentality" sometimes.

Have you read about the Standford Prison psychology experiment?

And those were adults.

(Here's a link talking about the study's flaws.)

Sue wrote: "Now I see the symbolism as a bit heavy handed but may be that's part of being young adult literature? I'm not sure. ..."

YA didn't exist as a genre when the book was written, so there's really no basis to draw parallels between this and today's YA books. But in my experience, no, today's YA books don't have heavy handed symbolism, as a general rule.


message 4: by Sue (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sue K H (sky_bluez) | 3330 comments Melanti wrote: "Sue wrote: "... while I do believe there can be people who are evil with no explanation, more often than not there is a nurture element. ..."

Well, yes and no. There's a "herd mentality" sometimes..."


That's what I meant in the mob mentality in my review.

I have read about the Stanford Prison experiment and about it's flaws. It is all very interesting. I think a lot of it comes from what we are socialized to expect of people in certain roles. In experiments like that, it seems people would be trying (maybe subconsciously) to play a part.

Did you happen to see the 60 minutes story recently about prison in Germany? http://www.cbsnews.com/news/this-is-p...

It's very interesting. I'm glad that people are experimenting with it. This German system seems too much the other way, but what we do is far from right especially since many people are wrongly convicted.


Melanti | 2384 comments No, I hadn't seen that particular documentary, but I had read some news articles about the subject in the past.

Norway is another country that focuses on rehabilitation rather than vengeance.

Sure, it does seem "too much the other way", as you say, and what works there may not work in other countries due to differing societal expectations, but their lower recidivism rates indicate their method of handling things has a lot going for it.


message 6: by Sue (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sue K H (sky_bluez) | 3330 comments Melanti wrote: "No, I hadn't seen that particular documentary, but I had read some news articles about the subject in the past.

Norway is another country that focuses on rehabilitation rather than vengeance.

Su..."


agree.


message 7: by Amy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Amy Eckert | 117 comments I'm so glad I finally got around to reading this book.

I agree though, that more character development for some of the characters would have been nice. I'd done a ton of reading ABOUT the novel before actually reading it, and I wish the character of Simon had been the focus of more of the scenes.

That being said, in my opinion, his is the focus of the most important scene in the novel, that crazy hallucination. What a brilliantly written scene! You can almost feel the humidity and heat of the island, and hear the flies buzzing around that pig head.

A few questions I'd be interested in hearing people's ideas on.

1. Was Ralph a good leader? While obviously a nicer person in general than Jack, was he really an effective leader?

2. What were your thoughts on the rescue at the end? Did anyone find it a cop out, like "and it was all a dream", or was it effective?

One thing I found that actually made me smile/smirk a bit were the mention of the British being such shining examples of civilization. Jack mentions it at the beginning, and we all know what happened there, and the soldier at the end makes the "I would have thought ENGLISH boys would put on a better show." How the soldier, rather than understanding the high emotions and crying of the boys is more uncomfortable and embarrassed by it, and turns away waiting for them to compose themselves, rather than hugging or trying to comfort them. Such a short bit, but it said so much to me.

Final note: William Golding, in the last chapter were you trying to set a record for most uses of the word "ululation"?


message 8: by Tytti (new) - added it

Tytti | 1092 comments Melanti wrote: "Norway is another country that focuses on rehabilitation rather than vengeance."

All Nordic countries have similar systems. Here is a documentary about Nordic prisons https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HfEsz... and here is an article about Finnish "open prisons" http://www.pri.org/stories/2015-04-15.... They have bunnies there.


message 9: by Sue (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sue K H (sky_bluez) | 3330 comments Amy wrote: "I'm so glad I finally got around to reading this book.

I agree though, that more character development for some of the characters would have been nice. I'd done a ton of reading ABOUT the novel b..."


I agree Amy about Simon and that scene. It was the best.

I definitely don't think Ralph was an effective leader. There were no consequences for breaking rules. Still, with Jack having a ready made team of which he was already the boss of, he was always going to be the leader if he continued to want it. There were too few disciplined older boys there for someone else to lead effectively.

The ending surprised me. I remembered a lot of the basics of the book but not the ending. I liked this one because of the irony of the fire ultimately saving them, proving Jack was right. I also liked the irony of it being a Naval officer rescuing them. The boys had been going through their own little war and in a way he was announcing that the war was over like would happen at remote prisoner of war camps. It ended like a real war, with no punishment for many of the atrocities committed. Of course, much later, some the worst Nazi's from WWII were held accountable, but by and large most people were not.

Funny about "ululation". You know what I did love, that was repeated often? "sucks to your ass-mar". I loved it each and every time!


Sarah | 587 comments We read this in high school and I didn't care for it.

But I think this was one I would have liked better reading it outside of school. I struggled to see all the things my English teacher insisted we should be so that made it difficult. I was too busy trying to see all the things she wanted us to to actually think about what I was reading.


message 11: by Sue (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sue K H (sky_bluez) | 3330 comments Tytti wrote: "Melanti wrote: "Norway is another country that focuses on rehabilitation rather than vengeance."

All Nordic countries have similar systems. Here is a documentary about Nordic prisons https://www.y..."


It's very interesting. Here in America, it's hard because of all the gangs in the big cities. I can't see how it would work here because there are a lot of Jack Merridew's in there who already have ready made teams to wreak havoc. There are hit's put out on people from the outside to someone on the inside and there are even hits put out on guards to their members on the outside. Many, who weren't gang members coming in, become them in prison to stay safe. Our prisons are horrible conditions for all involved.

The county jails aren't bad because with so many minor offenders, they're able to separate out the gang members so that the gangs can't take hold. I wish someone somewhere could come up with a solutions to end gangs. It's so complicated.


message 12: by Tytti (last edited Jul 03, 2016 01:23PM) (new) - added it

Tytti | 1092 comments Well gangs are probably doing well because of the "war on drugs". The same thing happened with the prohibition. We had a bad drug problem after WWII (soldiers had used heroin as cough medicine and for pain, metamphetanine for staying awake, opium and morphine as pain medication) but these days it's not that bad compared to many other countries. But if you also put non-violent drug users in prison together with the "real" criminals, you just asking for trouble. Here is another video and as you can see, not even drug users are particularly afraid of the police because they know it's not really the end of the world even if they get caught: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RkqPx...


message 13: by Sue (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sue K H (sky_bluez) | 3330 comments Tytti wrote: "Well gangs are probably doing well because of the "war on drugs". The same thing happened with the prohibition. We had a bad drug problem after WWII (soldiers had used heroin as cough medicine and ..."

I agree. Drugs fuel the Mexican Cartels who fuel our gangs. It's a horrible problem. It's also crazy to put any non -violent offenders of any type with violent offenders. We do have special non-violent prisons but they tend to get filled with the wealthy and well connected though. It's all so sad.


Melanti | 2384 comments Tytti wrote: "Well gangs are probably doing well because of the "war on drugs". The same thing happened with the prohibition. We had a bad drug problem after WWII (soldiers had used heroin as cough medicine and ..."

Yep. Something like 50% of the US federal prison population is there because of drug offenses. Prohibition didn't work in the 20s and led to a rise in gang activity then. Why should we expect any different 100 years later?

Another often-cited factor is income inequality.


Paula W | 553 comments Amy wrote: "I'm so glad I finally got around to reading this book.

I agree though, that more character development for some of the characters would have been nice. I'd done a ton of reading ABOUT the novel b..."


I saw the ending differently. I think the "rescue" was not a real rescue. Isn't it ironic that the rescuer was a naval officer in the middle of his own war? When he turned away and looked out at his ship, it hit home for me that he is only taking them from childhood into adulthood where there are still fires raging and people killing each other, only it is dressed up in uniforms with gold buttons. Ralph crying over "the end of innocence" and "the darkness of man's heart" takes on another layer of meaning when I think of it that way.


message 16: by Val (new) - rated it 4 stars

Val | 20 comments Paula, you've summed up my reaction to the ending with your words here. And perhaps in our current world state of factions and fighting, the symbolism of the rescue feels even more plausible.


message 17: by Amy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Amy Eckert | 117 comments Paula, that is a GREAT point! I hadn't looked at it like that! This is why I love book groups, getting perspectives I haven't thought of. So true, that for these boys there is no real "safe" place.


Elizabeth (echris8) | 1 comments I recently read this book and I have to say a lot of it seemed odd until I read the author's note at the end of the book. That made all the crazy then make sense and I liked the book a lot more.


Duane (tduaneparkeryahoocom) | 296 comments I read this book a few years ago and gave it four stars. The writing was very good and the concept was excellent. It just seemed unrealistic to me. It's a hard book to categorize; it's a little dystopian, young adult, adventure, all mixed together. Certainly worth reading. Here is the link to my review.

www.goodreads.com/review/show/1011761532


Renee | 864 comments This was my first time reading it and while I did enjoy it, I think I would have liked a little more development for the characters. It's hard to put yourself in their shoes. Would we all turn to savages if we were stranded on an island with other kids? No rules, no adults, nobody to tell you what you can and can't do. Now, I don't know how long they were on the island, but would they have turned savage so easily?

I think Ralph could have been a better leader if he was a little more forceful in getting the others to help build the shelters instead of goofing off. Jack already had his own following, so he didn't really have much trouble getting the others to join him and make a new group. Some of the others seemed to just join because they didn't want to be targeted by the group.

I really liked the foreshadowing of Simon and Piggy's deaths, especially that scene with Simon speaking to "The Lord of the Flies". Simon is the first to realise who the beast really is. I wasn't thinking Simon would meet his end so horribly at the hands of all the other boys though. Like others have mentioned, the mob mentality came into play there and everyone got involved and caught up in it. Nobody was listening to poor Simon. Ralph and Piggy had a hard time accepting their roles in it after it all happened.

Thank you Paula for that comment on the ending! Thinking about it that way makes me feel a lot different about the ending now, than I did when I finished it. What were Jack and his group thinking though setting fire to the island? I was wondering what they would do if they hadn't been rescued.


Darren (dazburns) | 1982 comments finished this last night

to save clicking a link, here is my review:

Cracking little adventure story - short, easy-reading style, intriguing scenario - solid 4-Star jobby.
Wouldn't go overboard about any hidden meaning(s) though - other than to say that if you read it with an adult sensitivity, you find yourself thinking what the kids should do if only they were a little bit older and could think of more sensible ways of organising themselves... because adults obviously have made such a sensible, settled society, with everybody getting along just fine - oh wait...


message 22: by RRPI (new) - rated it 5 stars

RRPI | 2 comments Christine wrote: "This thread is for discussion of the specific content of our July 2016 New School Group Read selection, Lord of the Flies by William Golding. Feel free to post and discuss ..."

I agree with a few of the authors above that the characters seem a bit flat, but it's also important to take their age into the equation. These are pre-teens we're dealing with so the emotions present in the piece are very strong. I think the situation that they're in forces them all to have a like mind-set, or mob mentality, that eventually causes them to start hunting each other down.

Children are naturally rowdy, but this a group that must survive on their own without the help of an adult. It stands to reason that not much of their personality would show though I agree that some characters, such as Piggy and Ralph, had a great deal more personality than the rest.


Jennifer (goodreadscomjenniferediting) | 34 comments I really enjoyed this book and can't believe I haven't read it until now... so many books, so little time.

I loved the way Golding looked at human nature. Bad leadership, selfishness, people taking what they want when they want it... all too common themes in everyday life.

Paula - I loved your interpretation of the ending and couldn't agree with you more!


Maggie the Muskoka Library Mouse (mcurry1990) Not my cup of tea at all. I had to force myself through this book, and it was very difficult.


Michele | 1012 comments Good commentary on human nature, though.


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