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Oh Horror! Horror! 'Lord of the Flies'

By September 28, 2013

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Lord of the FliesIt's been more than 100 years since William Golding was born! That's exciting stuff, particularly when you consider that he's one of the most important writers of his generation (The Times ranked Golding third on their list of "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945")--famous for his infamous Lord of the Flies, which has been consistently banned and challenged in schools (that group of English schoolboys on their deserted island have caused quite a lot of debate and controversy).

Golding also received the Nobel Prize "for his novels which, with the perspicuity of realistic narrative art and the diversity and universality of myth, illuminate the human condition in the world of today". The Lord of the Flies--in particular--is known for its brutal reality and stark barbarity; it's part of what has made the novel so attractive to teenagers (and also so controversial... banned!).

In the novel, Golding writes: "The world, that understandable and lawful world, was slipping away." And, later: "Kill the pig! Cut his throat! Kill the pig! Bash him in!"

Perhaps it's that bloody horror that has also been attractive (and memorable) about the novel for Stephen King. According to The Guardian, King "jumped" at the chance to write the centennial-edition Introduction to the The Lord of the Flies. There's high hope, according to the publisher: "We sell a lot of copies every year of Lord of the Flies [but] our goal in July is to make it a bestseller again."

So, here's the real question... Will you dig out your old copy of The Lord of the Flies and re-read it--particularly as we celebrate Banned Books Week in the week ahead? Or, are you of the opinion that the novel should be banned, censored, challenged, even burned--for its unruly adolescent angst?

If you've read the novel, would you let your child read it? Would you recommend it to a friend? And, what about Golding's other novels? He's known for Lord of the Flies, but he wrote a number of other works! What do you think of his body of works?


April 12, 2011 at 10:45 pm
(1) Riley Tubbs says:

I would absolutely let my children read it. I will read it again. It is so important to let everyone experience works like this no matter how controversial. This novel is all about knowing what we are capable of as human beings. How would burning it make this world a better place?

April 13, 2011 at 12:26 pm
(2) Adrienne says:

I think kids need to read this book so that they can see how stupid acts can get people killed. I have read the book and would read it again in an instant. I think that the contents of this book are nothing compared to the other demonic books that are out there for kids now. So if your going to burn this book…go burn twilight and all that while your at it!

April 19, 2011 at 12:59 pm
(3) Thomas Harrison says:

I have allowed my children to read it and also have used the films in my college classes (cinema appreciation, sociology). It is difficult to fathom the opposition to the story, for it does illustrate that we do have chances to change things, but corruption can begin at an early age.

April 19, 2011 at 1:50 pm
(4) Joanna says:

I absolutely love Lord of the Flies. I am a teenager but I never got to read this book in high school. Instead I had to go out and find the book on my own and read it. It changed my world. This book simply cannot be censored or banned. That would be an absolute travesty! It should be required reading! And I must say that Steven King is an excellent choice. :)

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