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Lord of the Flies

Lord of the Flies, by William Golding, 192 pages.

William Golding describes the theme of the book: “The theme is an attempt to trace the defects of society back to the defects of human nature. The moral is that the shape of a society must depend on the ethical nature of the individual and not on any political system, however apparently logical and respectable.”

A group of English boys is marooned on an uninhabited island without adult super­vision and authority when their plane crashes. They immediately light a fire in the hope that they will be rescued. Soon, however, discontent and discord breaks out; some of the boys want to hunt wild pigs instead of tending the fire. The rift grad­ually grew, until all but two boys were crazy, insane hunters, victims of their own white-hot passions, the uncontrollable force of human wickedness. The anarchic, driv­ing force of the “lord of the flies” — derived from the Greek Beelzebub — brought out the wildness and corruption of the human heart which led the hunters to kill two boys and attempt to kill the last “civilized” boy on the island, who was saved by the sudden appearance of a rescuing naval of­ficer.

I believe that this fascinating and intri­cately woven symbolic web has a place in the Christian’s reading, so far as the book goes. However, it leaves much to be desired. In­stead of reliance upon the individual and his ability to control himself, a Pelagian idea, there should be the theme of the organic development of sin. The book fails to take into account man’s fall; and I ques­tion whether a book that contains nothing but evil and wickedness is good at all. To portray nothing but evil with no hope of Christ is quite typical of our present-day carnal and realistic philosophy. If the Christian reads this book, it is imperative that he views the corruption in the story from this perspective.