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Lord of the Flies (50th Anniversary Edition) Hardcover – Deckle Edge, October 28, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

William Golding's classic tale about a group of English schoolboys who are plane-wrecked on a deserted island is just as chilling and relevant today as when it was first published in 1954. At first, the stranded boys cooperate, attempting to gather food, make shelters, and maintain signal fires. Overseeing their efforts are Ralph, "the boy with fair hair," and Piggy, Ralph's chubby, wisdom-dispensing sidekick whose thick spectacles come in handy for lighting fires. Although Ralph tries to impose order and delegate responsibility, there are many in their number who would rather swim, play, or hunt the island's wild pig population. Soon Ralph's rules are being ignored or challenged outright. His fiercest antagonist is Jack, the redheaded leader of the pig hunters, who manages to lure away many of the boys to join his band of painted savages. The situation deteriorates as the trappings of civilization continue to fall away, until Ralph discovers that instead of being hunters, he and Piggy have become the hunted: "He forgot his words, his hunger and thirst, and became fear; hopeless fear on flying feet." Golding's gripping novel explores the boundary between human reason and animal instinct, all on the brutal playing field of adolescent competition. --Jennifer Hubert --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Review

"Lord of the Flies is one of my favorite books. That was a big influence on me as a teenager, I still read it every couple of years." 
—Suzanne Collins, author of The Hunger Games

"As exciting, relevant, and thought-provoking now as it was when Golding published it in 1954."
Stephen King

"The most influential novel...since Salinger's Catcher in the Rye." 
Time

"This brilliant work is a frightening parody on man's return (in a few weeks) to that state of darkness from which it took him thousands of years to emerge. Fully to succeed, a fantasy must approach very close to reality. Lord of the Flies does. It must also be superbly written. It is." 
The New York Times Book Review
 
"Sparely and elegantly written...Lord of the Flies is a grim anti-pastoral in which adults are disguised as children who replicate the worst of their elders' heritage of ignorance, violence, and warfare." 
Joyce Carol Oates, New York Review of Books
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; 50 Anv edition (October 28, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399529209
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399529207
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 1.2 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2,667 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #134,992 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I taught this book in my sophomore English class. I started each unit with a "free-for-all" day, an entire class period in which I said nothing, gave no instructions, and wore a sign that read "I'm closed for repairs." I did this with ten different classes and each time chaos ensued. As soon as students realized I was present but not really there, they tested the limits with what they could and could not do. Since I told myself that I would only break character if a student's well-being was at stake, the students quikly realized they could get away with a lot. Leaders emerged and some kids tried to be somewhat productive, but the outcome was always dismal and disturbing. One time all the desks were piled into one heap as if they were going to be a part of one giant bonfire. This was always an interesting introduction to the book since the students quickly made the connections when they started reading the book. I am a very positive person by nature and tend to see the best in people, so some of the truths in this book are hard for me to acknowledge. However, Golding hits us with the reality of our hearts smack dab between the eyes. This book is a fascinating read that will force you to look closely within your own heart while also reminding you to be a little more cautious when trusting other people's intentions.
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Format: Paperback
"Lord of the Flies" is singularly the most important novel for required reading, whether assigned in school or self-imposed. It regularly appears as number one on my own list of best books.

Let's play "What if." What if a plane carrying a full load of school boys crashes on a deserted island with no adult survivors? What would happen to those boys? What would you expect to happen?

William Golding works with this premise: an idyllic setting, innocent schoolboys. One boy, an older boy just short of teenage years, a boy with fair hair, assumes leadership to stir the others into some semblance of organization and survival mode, much like adults would do if adults were present. He also saw a need to defuse the web of fear of the younger ones. Where are we? How long will we need to wait before someone comes for us? All questions with no answers at this time.

Ah, yes, Golding tells us, everything goes well for a while. But remember the "scar" made by the crashing plane? Something ugly is on this island (but it's not the scar). It's in the bushes, in the dark, in the depths, in the depths of hearts, and it grows like the malignancy it is.

A blatant revelation of what is about to come occurs when Roger silently and stealthily watches a young'un, unbeknownst to the little child. All the young'un is doing is running a stick through the sand, disturbing a crab in a tiny pool of water. Even he imposes control and fear on a helpless creature as Roger boldly picks up a couple of rocks and tosses them the youngster's way. He deliberately misses but comes closer with each throw. Next time he will probably hit the young boy, but not yet. This taboo--deliberately and unnecessarily causing pain to one smaller than you--has not been broken--yet.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
With this his first novel, author William Golding wrote a novel that he could never surpass in greatness. Lord of the Flies is a novel about our human nature. Too often I think, people jump to quick conclusions about the book and Golding's stand on human nature. "His stance is too pessimistic" or "That books really gross." What these people fail to realize is that Golding tried to paint a picture of human nature as he saw it. He wasn't making things up, I don't think he was particularly angry, he wrote Lord of the Flies to expose people to the atrocities that he witnessed in World War II.
One of the largest underlying principles in Lord of the Flies is of course, human nature. William Golding gives the reader three interesting characters to analyze: Jack, Piggy, and Ralph. It's quite apparent as you read the novel that Golding must have read a little Sigmund Freud before writing Lord of the Flies. Let's start with Jack. Jack is the definite Id on the island. He wants to survive but he also wants to eat meat and have fun. Jack is clearly unable to control these urges and in turn has a pretty large influence on the other boys on the island. Piggy is the definite Superego on the island. Piggy is always referring to "well my auntie..." and always finds an excuse not to do something. Piggy has no intentions of satisfying his id, and in turn influences only Ralph and Simon. Ralph on the other hand, takes the middle road. He is clearly trying to find a way to satisfy his id, but he can't seem to find one. Take what he said in chapter eight for instance: "...Without the fire we can't be rescued. I'd like to put on war-paint and be a savage. But we must keep the fire burning...
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
If not for anything else, William Golding's LORD OF THE FLIES (1954) is remarkable for having come out at a time when Western society was being bombarded with visions of totalitarian nightmares. The Nazis were gone, but still in modern memory. Russia's totalitarian state was a constant threat. McCarthyism hovered over everyone's privacy, as did J. Edgar Hoover. And recent fiction, like Aldous Huxley's BRAVE NEW WORLD and, especially, George Orwell's 1984 presented world views where the human spirit is all but squelched by governments and technologies.
LORD OF THE FLIES, in its own way, says, "Hold on a second! Humans do need to be regulated. And they do need to protect themselves from each other." His tale is a warning: Humanity, without government, will degenerate into savagery and anarchy. And that is precisely what happens in this book. You know the plot, by now. But what has to be mentioned is that William Golding is a visionary who has the story-telling mastery to convey and do justice to that vision. LORD OF THE FLIES is a remarkable and powerful book, one that should be on everyone's bookshelf.
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