Welcome back to Classic’s Corner, today we’re going to be talking about conch shells, beasts and non existent cannibalism.
Where did this shared hallucination come from, that Lord of the Flies is about a group of kids who end up killing and eating each other? Literally everyone I’ve told I was reading Lord of the Flies has said “Is that the one where they eat the fat kid?”. I even thought that. Turns out, no. It’s not the one where they eat the fat kid. I’m beginning to notice a pattern here. A lot of the classics I’ve been choosing, I’ve had some sort of preconceived notion about that has been smashed to smithereens by actually reading the book. It’s like Chinese Whispers. Starts off as one thing, then by the time it’s dispersed into the general public sphere it is something completely different. Can I even blame Hollywood for this one? IS there a Lord of the Flies film? I feel like there should be…
OK! Looks like there have been 2 films. One in the 60s and one in 1990. Both look kinda terrible. No wonder I hadn’t heard of them. Neither feature cannibals (according to wikipedia).
Aside from assuming there was to be cannibalism, I didn’t have any idea what to expect from this book. Which is probably a good thing, my expectations weren’t too high. I genuinely liked the book, lots of interesting themes and moments of ‘wow, that could happen’ plus characters who needed a slap and others who needed a hug, what’s not to like? It was certainly more intense than I anticipated and it’s interesting that Ralph started off as being one of the most arrogant, irritating characters I’ve read for a while, until Jack showed up and suddenly I had sympathy for Ralph. The descriptions of the island and the slow pace of the story actually added to the intensity for me, it made it more real. Of course something like that isn’t going to happen over night, that’s ridiculous. The psychology behind it is really unsettling, this is something that could genuinely happen, given the right situation and variables. It’s interesting and scary all at once.
I would have liked some more information about the outside world though: these kids all crash landed on this island, they were on the same plane, but somehow didn’t know each other? We don’t know where the plane was going or where it had come from. What happened to all the adults? What happened to the plane? There is talk of “the scar” with reference to the forest, one assumes that’s the clearing cut through the trees when the fuselage came down, but what then happened to the wreckage? It’s never mentioned again and it’s weird. Then there is Simon (mild spoilers here just in case someone is reading this who hasn’t read the book), what exactly was he doing in that hole in the ground? And why did he think it was a good idea to just stay there while he slowly dehydrated? “Yes, I’ll just sit in this hole in the ground until I get so hot and dehydrated that I hallucinate a talking pigs head and talking flies. It’s all good.” Somethings just weren’t explained and that bugs me. Maybe they are explained through clever language and symbolism that I’ve failed to grasp. If that’s the case then please feel free to tell me, I’d love to know why Simon decided to send himself nuts, or why Roger was completely irrelevant for 90% of the story until he was needed in the end. Help a girl out here?