Lord of the Flies is a 1954 novel by the Nobel Prize-winning British author William Golding. The plot concerns a group of British boys who are stranded on an uninhabited island and their disastrous attempts to govern themselves. Themes include the tension between groupthink and individuality, between rational and emotional reactions, and between morality and immorality.
The novel, which served as Golding's debut, garnered favourable reviews in general. It was included in the Modern Library's list of the 100 best novels, where it was ranked 25th by readers and 41st by editors. In 2005, Time magazine called it one of the 100 finest English-language novels published between 1923 and 2005 and included it in its list of the 100 Best Young-Adult Books of All Time. In 2003, it was ranked at number 70 on the BBC's The Big Read survey. Lord of the Flies, a widely read book in schools, particularly in English-speaking countries, came in third on a 2016 UK poll asking people to name their favourite school-related books.
The manuscript was turned down by a number of publishers before being accepted by London's Faber & Faber; Miss Perkins, a professional reader at Faber, initially rejected the book and called it a "A ridiculous and uninteresting fantasy about an atomic bomb going off over the colonies and some kids landing in the jungle close to New Guinea drab and worthless. Pointless". Charles Monteith, on the other hand, made the decision to take on the manuscript and worked with Golding to finish a number of very significant modifications, which included the removal of the whole first section of the book, which had originally portrayed an evacuation from nuclear war.
The boys arrive on the island at the start of the novel after their jet is shot down during what appears to be a nuclear World War III. Some of the marooned characters are typical college students, but others show up as a chorus with a leader. They don't seem to have ever met before, with the exception of Sam, Eric, and the choirboys. The only way the lads have to ignite a fire is to steal Piggy's glasses, so Jack and his rebel group resolve to do just that. They break into Ralph's camp, seize the glasses, and depart for their home on Castle Rock, an outcropping. Ralph travels to Castle Rock with Piggy, Sam, and Eric in order to face Jack and get the glasses after being abandoned by the majority of his fans. With Roger killing Piggy and breaking the conch, the lads reject Ralph. Ralph is able to flee, but Roger tortures Sam and Eric until they choose to join Jack's tribe.
The book describes the well-educated youngsters' decline into savagery when they are left on a paradise island alone and cut off from contemporary civilisation. A British plane crashes on or close to an uninhabited island in a distant area of the Pacific Ocean while carrying out a wartime evacuation. Boys who are in their middle childhood or early adolescence are the sole survivors. A conch is discovered by Ralph and Piggy, two youngsters, and Ralph uses it as a horn to gather the survivors in one spot. Using the conch, Ralph swiftly establishes control over the other lads and is named their "chief". He sets up three major rules: to enjoy yourself, to stay alive, and to keep up a smoke signal that could warn passing ships of their existence. Piggy's spectacles are used by Ralph and two other lads called Jack and Simon to start the signal fire. The opposing human drives toward civilisation and social organization—living by the rules, quietly, and in harmony—and toward the will to power are the main theme, at an allegorical level. The conflict between individuality and groupthink, between rational and emotional responses, and between morality and immorality are some of the themes. A significant subtext of Lord of the Flies is how events unfold and how various characters react to them. American literary critic Harold Bloom addresses these issues in an essay. A literal translation of Beelzebub, a character from 2 Kings, is "Lord of the Flies." The American Library Association ranked it at position 68 on their list of the 100 most commonly contested books from 1990 to 1999 due to its views on the already contentious topics of human nature and individual welfare against the general good. The book has come under fire for being "cynical" and only showing "selfish animals" in humans. It has been contrasted with "Management of the Commons" by Elinor Ostrom and associated with Garrett Hardin's "Tragedy of the Commons" and Ayn Rand's novels. The novel "Lord of the Flies" has been compared to a true story from 1965, when a group of schoolchildren from Tonga who were travelling on a fishing boat were caught in a storm and left stranded on the uninhabited island of Ata, where they were mistakenly believed to have perished by their family members in Nuku'alofa.
The book was named in the list of best young adult novels under 200 by BC and still continues to enthral readers with its vivid description of life on the margins. The book is taught in undergraduate courses in different colleges in many countries.
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