Just a few days ago, while wandering through a thrift shop, I stumbled upon a copy of “Lord of The Flies” by Nobel prize winner William Golding. Despite hearing about it in passing and perusing various reviews, videos, and articles over time, seeing it there felt like a sign. I decided to dive into its pages.
Approaching my thirties, I find myself reflecting more on the impact I’m making, contemplating what I contribute to society rather than solely focusing on personal gain. Lately, the universe seems to be nudging me towards being more deliberate and conscious in work, relationships, and life in general. This book seems to align perfectly with this phase of introspection and personal growth.
The storyline follows a cohort of children, ranging from young to teenage, marooned on an isolated island. Envision a group of boys amidst this idyllic setting, devoid of adult guidance—a diverse mix of personalities including an intellectual, a bully, supportive companions, timid individuals, and a leader with an inherent sense of fairness reveling in newfound freedom.
Ralph assumes leadership predominantly due to his charismatic nature and his use of the conch to convene the children. However, the truth is, it was Piggy who discovered the conch, recognized its potential for unification, and guided Ralph in its usage. His leadership wasn’t based on charisma or physical prowess.
Seeking to establish his own authority, Jack aspired to become the chief. Ralph willingly granted him full control to oversee his band of hunters. Together, Ralph and Piggy established the rule of assembly, where possessing the conch granted the right to speak.
Their initial collective goal was to explore the island in search of potential shelters. Ralph, Jack, and Simon undertook this expedition and confirmed that they were the sole inhabitants. During this journey, Jack encountered a piglet and attempted to hunt it but missed.
During their assembly, a unanimous decision was reached: their primary objective was rescue. This necessitated building shelters and maintaining a signal fire atop the mountain for potential sighting by passing ships or aircraft.
With the aid of Piggy’s spectacles, they managed to ignite a fire. Jack’s group was assigned the task of sustaining the flames. Ralph urged others to join in constructing shelters for survival. Meanwhile, Jack fixated on hunting pigs, driven by his initial failed attempt.
While Jack and his group were engrossed in their hunting expedition, they inadvertently overlooked their duty to tend to the fire, resulting in its untimely extinction. Coincidentally, during this time, Ralph and Piggy caught sight of a passing ship. Regrettably, without the telltale smoke signal from the fire, the ship did not perceive any sign of distress from the island, leading to a missed opportunity for potential rescue.
Ralph grew weary and frustrated, witnessing most of the kids shirking work. He noticed a shift in focus—instead of tending to the essential tasks of shelter and fire, attention diverted towards hunting and self-validation. And he delivers a speech :
We have lots of assemblies. Everybody enjoys speaking and being together. We decide things. But they don’t get done. We were going to have water brought from the stream and left in those coconut shells under fresh leaves. So it was, for a few days. Now there’s no water. The shells are dry. People drink from the river.
Not that there’s anything wrong with drinking from the river. I mean i’d sooner have water from that place– you know, the pool where the waterfall is– than out of an old coconut shell. Only we said we’d have the water brought. And now not. There were only two full shells there this afternoon.
Wait a minute! I mean, who built all three? We all built the first one, four of us the second, and me ‘n’ Simon built the last one over there. That’s why it’s so tottery. No. Don’t laugh. That shelter might fall down if the rain comes back. We’ll need those shelters then.
The fire is the most important thing on the island. How can we ever be rescued except by luck, if we don’t keep a fire going? Is a fire too much for us to make?
Look at us! How many are we? And yet we can’t keep a fire going to make smoke. Don’t you understand? Can’t you see we ought to – ought to die before we let the fire out?– Ralph
I encourage you to explore the book further, as it resonated deeply with me. It’s important to note that while there are instances where the narrative might feel inconsistent or unrealistic, emphasizing the broader themes rather than scrutinizing specific details would be highly beneficial.
Some thought-provoking themes:
- The Clash between Societal Decay and Civilized Behavior
- Loss of Innocence and the Transition to Adulthood
- Dynamics of Power and Leadership
- Symbolism and Allegory: The Conch, the Beast, Fire, and the Lord of the Flies
Key Insights Drawn from the Book:
- Emphasize Intentions and Long-term Goals over Short-term Aims
- Prioritization: Focusing on Long-term Essential Goals above Short-term Important Ones
- Discussion vs. Action: People often indulge in discussions without subsequent action.
- Fear of the Unknown: A Universal Human Trait
- The Influence of Fear and Power in Transforming Individuals into Monstrous Versions of Themselves
- Insecurity’s Impact: Prompting Actions Uncharacteristic of a Person’s Nature.