What a pity that so many adults had a bad experience with this novel in high school that they never want to pick it up again.
At first glance, this novel seems innocent enough: a group of English school boys find themselves stranded on a remote island and must learn survival skills to stay alive. However, the direction that the author took this seemingly harmless premise could make anyone fall into an existential crisis.
Truly, the mastery that went into "Lord of the Flies" is astounding. There is so much allegory just leaking off the pages that sometimes I think people can get too caught up in the intellectual aspect of the novel. And there truly is a lot to be discussed. The island follows the same fate as the Garden of Eden. As the boys fall more and more into their darker selves, the island itself becomes a character taking on an evil turn.
In fact, this book has been banned and challenged relentlessly due to the fact that, in the end, Goulding's message is that all of humanity is evil at its core.
This novel focuses on the murder of reason, the death of goodness and the dark truth of what it means to be human. So much is condensed into this roughly 200 paged book that it's hard not to find yourself in a deep conversation about the human condition. However, even though it is a well of conversation starters, as an adult I found myself more and more affected by the boys' deaths and descent into madness. When reading this as a high school student, I was encouraged to focus only on the academic aspect of the novel. But when reading it as an adult, I couldn't help but focus on the emotional side of it, too.
There were times when I read this that my blood ran cold. Other times I felt myself in such shock that my body went numb. I didn't have any of these experiences when I was a teenager. I didn't have a connection like this with the book before.
I can't recommend that adults re-read (or read for the first time!) this novel enough. And I hope in doing so, they'll find more meaning and more emotion than they experienced before.