It might be regarded as a classic book, but "Lord of the Flies" is not what I would describe as an easy read. Confronting the reader, as William Golding does, with a rather bleak and brutal portrayal of youth unfettered by the boundaries of social norms. Indeed, this novel suggests we may remain a very uncomfortably short step from the savagery supposedly consigned to primitive human history. The fact that the protagonists are children only magnifies the horror of the characters' amoral behaviour and irreverent attitude to life.
Marooned on a desert island, the only survivors of a plane crash are a group of schoolboys, comprising littluns and bigguns. At the outset, the scenario has the feel of an adventure, but as the harsh realities of survival kick-in, the group becomes fractured and set upon an inevitable trajectory of conflict.
In many ways it is a rather tragic story, with fatal consequences for some. Still, the examination of bullying, the potential folly of unchallenged, charismatic, macho leadership and the value of social rules makes this an obvious choice for GCSE study. Though I have come to it very late, I can understand why this book retains popularity and is regarded as an important contribution to English literature. Still, it offers up a very unflattering impression of man-kind. Like father, like son?