- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 6 hours and 35 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Listening Library
- Audible.com Release Date: October 3, 2003
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B0000E69E3
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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Lord of the Flies Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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Top Customer Reviews
William Golding would win the Nobel Prize for Literature primarily due to this work, which was originally published in 1954. So often Introductions detract from the main work. Not so in this case. Stephen King has written one of the most memorable ones. It is brief, and describes his childhood reading in Maine. He had read many of the standard “uplifting” books for the young, like the “Hardy Boys.” Eventually he realized that real kids don’t act the way they are depicted in these uplifting tales. He wanted to read a realistic account of what kids do. When the library Bookmobile came to town, he asked the librarian. She pulled this book out of the adult section, with the admonition that he should never tell the source; he had simply found it on his own.
British school boys – and it is only boys – crash in an airplane on a deserted island. The adults are killed, only the school boys remain. They commence to organize themselves. They use a simple conch as a symbol of authority. They hold an election as to who should be a leader. They determine they really are on an island, and realize they must generate smoke in order to attract the attention of any ship that may be passing, in order to be rescued. That’s the rational action part.
Golding was a school teacher when he wrote this novel, so he knew all too well the cliques that kids will form, the bullying of the weaker and the outliers, and yes, the just plain nastiness of kids, some of whom would one day point a presumptive finger at their elders. The “good” kid, the one the reader would like to identify with, is Ralph. But right from the beginning, Golding shows his “feet of clay.” It is a painful re-read at times. Who does not remember the “not cool” overweight kid, who might be asthmatic, with thick glasses? Who would be this kid’s friend? In Golding’s novel, this kid reveals to Ralph that his name in school was “piggy,” and begs him not to tell the others. Ralph does, in a senseless act of cruelty.
And it is downhill from there. Two main factions develop. Fears of the unknown haunt the dreams and the waking periods of the youths. A faction of the school boys evolve to be the hunters, in search of the meat of pigs. Satiating natural hunger degenerates in savagery and blood lust… and the killing of their own kind. It is in our genes is what Golding was saying, as I also saw confirmed in the ‘60’s.
Golding’s work is still apparently a school assignment, based on the number of reviews (including the silly 1-stars). It remains a very well-written “action tale” with a strong moral message about our essential genes that quietly rebuke those “new age” aspirations. I found it better, and definitely more understandable the second time around. 5-stars.
But everyone knows things are bad here. The question is: why is it this way?
William Golding's famous "Lord of the Flies" I believe seeks to answer that question. The story begins curious enough with a sizeable number of English boys ranging from ages 6-12 are trapped on a coral island. There are no adults, and the island is relatively livable as there is fruit a plenty and pigs for meat. Innocently enough, the boys begin their captivity by electing the charismatic and likeable Ralph to lead their democratic society. There are rules: the boys need shelter, they need food, the need water--but perhaps most importantly the boys need to maintain a smoke signal if they are to have any hope of escape. Things are all well and good.
But how this book begins is not how it ends, as talk of a mysterious beast propels the boys into the shackles of fear. Things start to fall apart. Order crumbles. Brutal pig hunts find success. Division ensues. And before you know it, the good English schoolboys that began on the island are as forgotten as the memories of home. One perceptive youth on the island suggests: "Maybe it's (the beast) only us."
Golding's classic surely garners another reading from myself as its sociological and political implications are abundant. But perhaps more revealing to me is Golding's profound commentary on humanity--or what is within humanity at its deepest core. His conclusions are not flattering. Though it may be cloaked by laws and restrained by culture, the crux of "Lord of the Flies" is emphatic: The beast is inside each of us. The evil is us. And when it is exposed it is not pretty.
Golding's understanding of humanity is grisly and disturbing, but his case is made and his point is taken. "What is wrong with the world" you ask? Perhaps Golding would agree with G.K. Chesterton's famous reply: "I am."