Lord of the Flies leaves readers disturbed

Denise Paz-Guerrero, Opinion Editor

The Lord of the Flies by William Golding is a classic literary work that is notably disturbing. The novel is about a group of British boys that land on a deserted island after their plane crashes during World War Two. There are no adults to guide these boys, so they must survive on their own. 

After the boys find each other, some boys stand out as leaders and make an effort to control the situation in order to get rescued. They start fires, build tents and hunt. However, there is a clear power imbalance, and violent disputes begin to occur. Some boys would rather hunt and play, while others want to focus on getting rescued. This causes them to split up. As the story progresses, some of the boys no longer behave “civilized” and act on their “natural instincts.” Towards the end of the story, the boys have turned against each other and deaths occur as a result of these conflicts.

Golding uses the boys’ behavior to illustrate a theme that mankind is naturally evil. This novel is not just about how chaotic children can be, but also about the idea that every man seeks benefits for himself at the expense of others. Moreover, Golding uses allegory to discuss society’s ills. Many symbols throughout the book depict the struggle between different types of people in the real world including the fair versus the manipulative. 

The book has been challenged and banned in some schools for its horrifying and violent aspects. I found myself wondering how  these young boys could commit such hateful and unethical crimes. As I read, I wanted to throw the book because of how unfair some of the children were to one another. I was devastated after the characters I rooted for were murdered. While the book is unsettling, I recommend everyone read this truly frightening book.