Adventures in Reading


Revisted Reviews: Lord of the Flies by William Goulding

I first read Lord of the Flies in high school and recall being the only person in class who actually enjoyed the book (and also the only one who disliked Frankenstein – in retrospect it seems many of my literary tastes were opposed by my peers!). I picked it up off of my shelf a few days ago (cracked binding, faded glue, all the pages falling out, and thus demanding a rubber band) and finally reread it: I still like it.

It’s the story of a group of English boys trapped on a deserted island. In an attempt to be rescued, the boys begin to cultivate their own civilization with structure and orders. This all to quickly falls apart. Lord of the Flies is a short masterpiece of children’s lives mirroring the adult sphere and, like so many other books

lodged in the annuals of high school literature, too often is read at an age when a person is most likely to lack the understanding of the full implications of the novel. A splendid read and I really ought to look into what else Goulding has written.

When I reached the conclusion of Lord of the Flies, with the brief though beautifully direct description of the battleships on the horizon, I had to wonder if I had ever actually finished reading the book. I wonder what exactly should students read in high school (as I regularly feel a book is too demanding for many high school students), but I am beginning to think that we simply expect students to read far too much. For whatever reason, many high schools seem to want to just plow through as many books as possible.

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8 Comments

I think that’s true too. That kids are being forced to plow through and get too many books. And also that you can read and appreciate a book is a piece of literature but you don’t necessarily have to like every “classic” you read. I’m still trying to get over the fact and know it’s “ok” that I don’t like 1984. :)

Comment by Amanda

I was usually the girl who liked the English class books, but I HATED Lord of the Flies. To this day I still get a vehement anti-Flies reaction whenever it’s mentioned. One of the things was, as you mention, that it’s really not a high school book – one reason I hated it was because I didn’t get any of the symbolism and then felt really stupid that I hadn’t. (In addition to the gross pig-head and other icky scenes!)

Comment by Tiny Librarian

Amanda: “Classics” are another biggy. In college I took a course where through a semester we read four two five novels and the teacher’s intention of the course was to have us define “novel” and literature.” Perhaps even if high school classes more of an overarching course theme it would be helpful. For now though I’ll have to go on cringing with every high school summer reader I help at work that expresses their hatred for books.

Tiny Librarian: So many high school books seem so full of symbolism. I recall reading Heart of Darkness and my teacher instructed us to mark every reference of foliage! It’s important in the context of the book, but so specific and tedious for a high school reading I still dread the idea of finally rereading it (despite the shortness of the novel (novella?)). One day I’m going to sit down and dream up a high school reading list I can live with.

Comment by bookchronicle

i am reading lord of the flies and i simply adore it and even though i am young i under stand most the hardships that the boys are facing in this wonderful tale!

Comment by middle skooler

I am in year 10 and am 15 years old. I have had to read Lord of the Flies for English recently and now feel quite stupid now that the whole ‘symbolism’ thing went completely over my head. I admit, I did realize that there must be some deeper meaning to the drivel, but I didn’t understand what it was. I absolutely hated having to read it, mainly because I didn’t understand the meaning and, in some parts, what Golding was trying to convey. I was able to understand and sympathize with the situation the boys were in, but I feel like a complete idiot for missing the whole purpose.

Comment by Stretchy Pants

See, I got the symbolism (reading it as an adult for the first time) and I hated it! I don’t think it is a good book for schools and can’t imagine talking about all of the gruesome scenes and symbolism in a class setting.

Comment by Rebecca Reid

hate it
its a horrible book

Comment by kit kat

hate the horrible book: makes nooo SENSE!

Comment by kit kat




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