Read of the Week: Lord of the Flies by William Golding

This week’s Read comes recommended by Rachel from the Development team – Lord of the Flies by William Golding.

A great clamour rose among the savages. Piggy shouted again.

‘Which is better –to have rules and agree, or to hunt and kill?’

Again the clamour and again – ‘Zup!’

Ralph shouted against the noise.

‘Which is better, law and rescue, or hunting and breaking things up?’

Now Jack was yelling too and Ralph could no longer make himself heard. Jack had backed right against the tribe and they were a solid mass of menace that bristled with spears.

(Extended section that could added with the above for the blog) The intention of charge was forming among them; they were working up to it and the neck would be swept clear. Ralph stood facing them, a little to one side, his spear ready. By him stood Piggy still holding out the talisman, the fragile, shining beauty of the shell. The storm of sound beat at them, an incantation of hatred. High overhead, Roger, with a sense of delirious abandonment, leaned all his weight on the lever.

Ralph heard the great rock long before he saw it. He was aware of a jolt in the earth that came to him through the soles of his feet, and the breaking sound of stones at the top of the cliff. Then the monstrous red thing bounded across the neck and he flung himself flat while the tribe shrieked.

If you were stranded on a desert island…

You are on a plane being evacuated to safety. The plane goes down and you and the other passengers, some of whom you do but most you do not know, are stranded. Someone needs to make a plan.

What would you do?! What role would you assume?

Would you lead or be led? Would you hold on to the hope of rescue or would you bury your head in the sand? Would you stick together and work as a team or would you fend for yourself and go it alone? Would you strive for a civilised society or would you let the wildness of the landscape overtake you?

When a group of young boys are the only survivors stuck on a desert island they are faced with such choices – and with no adults to explain right or wrong, no laws to govern what should or shouldn’t be done – these choices become a matter of life and death, defining them from the hunters or the hunted.

A heart thumping, page turning thriller, Lord of the Flies is a gritty portrayal of base human instinct, that in times of stress or crisis, can reveal itself in all its savage ugliness. Perhaps the desert island in Lord of the Flies is as much a mindset, circumstance or symbol as it is a physical place – perhaps we find ourselves there already – which begs the question: what is our response?

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