Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Lord of the Flies

William Golding.

We're really mining the classics here. One look at that pig's head on the cover and I'm straight back in that secondary school classroom, rolling eyes at Claire about what a hopeless old lech is our English teacher, Mr Y, and sneakily carving VS's initials into the desk with my protractor.

Why do they make you read Lord of the Flies at school? Not that it's not a very good book, but is it the teacher's revenge on kids, seeing that its message is that Humans Are Essentially Bad and Evil, especially the supposedly innocent youngsters who'd roast you and eat you, given the right conditions? (I saw William Golding give a talk once at college, he said he'd written it because he'd gotten so fed up with these Swallows and Amazons type books about happy children having a lovely time on holiday. Kids, he said, are just as rotten and horrible as the rest of us.)


  1. I'm with Mr Golding on this one; Swallows and Amazons, The Famous Five, Just William, et al are not true representations of the way children behave. True, Lord of the Flies is a bit extreme, but a weekend spent with my nephews is proof positive that it's not that far from the truth.

    Carry on the good work.

  2. i had to study Lord of the Flies in school too. I think part of the reason they make you do it is because it's considered to be an excellent example of 'organic writing'. That is to say, it only really contains sentences that need to be there for the sake of telling the story, and no frilly stylistic non-necessities.

  3. Thank God I didn't have to read it in school, but found it myself as a teenager. I used to resent being "taught" stuff I already liked, and must have been a difficult pupil! It rang very true to me, having been in a group of children who ran wild all day. The only thing that stopped anyone doing murder was teatime.

    Great to see you back! You aren't displaying your lowbrow tendencies yet, and I'm looking forward to that.

  4. Thanks Steve. Aw, the kids are alright really.

    Good point, Andrew. I've never read any of his others though, have you?

    Me too, Anne, and thanks. I like the sound of your childhood.