Lord of the Flies is a 1954 novel by Nobel Prize–winning British author William Golding. The book focuses on a group of British boys stranded on an uninhabited island and their disastrous attempt to govern themselves.
The novel has been generally well received. It was named in the Modern Library 100 Best Novels, reaching number 41 on the editor's list, and 25 on the reader's list. In 2003 it was listed at number 70 on the BBC's The Big Read poll, and in 2005 Time magazine named it as one of the 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to 2005.
|Lord of the Flies|
The original UK Lord of the Flies book cover
|Cover artist||Anthony Gross|
|Publisher||Faber and Faber|
|17 September 1954|
|ISBN||0-571-05686-5 (first edition, paperback)|
Published in 1954, Lord of the Flies was Golding's first novel. Although it did not have great success after being released—selling fewer than three thousand copies in the United States during 1955 before going out of print—it soon went on to become a best-seller. It has been adapted to film twice in English, in 1963 by Peter Brook and 1990 by Harry Hook, and once in Filipino by Lupita A. Concio (1975).
The book takes place in the midst of an unspecified war. Some of the marooned characters are ordinary students, while others arrive as a musical choir under an established leader. With the exception of Sam and Eric and the choirboys, they appear never to have encountered each other before. The book portrays their descent into savagery; left to themselves on a paradisiacal island, far from modern civilization, the well-educated children regress to a primitive state.
Golding wrote his book as a counterpoint to R.M. Ballantyne's youth novel The Coral Island (1858), and included specific references to it, such as the rescuing naval officer's description of the children's initial attempts at civilised cooperation as "a jolly good show, like the Coral Island". Golding's three central characters—Ralph, Piggy and Jack—have been interpreted as caricatures of Ballantyne's Coral Island protagonists.
In the midst of a wartime evacuation, a British aeroplane crashes on or near an isolated island in a remote region of the Pacific Ocean. The only survivors are boys in their middle childhood or preadolescence. Two boys—the fair-haired Ralph and an overweight, bespectacled boy nicknamed "Piggy"—find a conch, which Ralph uses as a horn to convene all the survivors to one area. Ralph is optimistic, believing that grown-ups will come to rescue them but Piggy realises the need to organise: ("put first things first and act proper"). Because Ralph appears responsible for bringing all the survivors together, he immediately commands some authority over the other boys and is quickly elected their "chief". He does not receive the votes of the members of a boys' choir, led by the red-headed Jack Merridew, although he allows the choir boys to form a separate clique of hunters. Ralph establishes three primary policies: to have fun, to survive, and to constantly maintain a smoke signal that could alert passing ships to their presence on the island and thus rescue them. The boys establish a form of democracy by declaring that whoever holds the conch shall also be able to speak at their formal gatherings and receive the attentive silence of the larger group.
Jack organises his choir into a hunting party responsible for discovering a food source. Ralph, Jack, and a quiet, dreamy boy named Simon soon form a loose triumvirate of leaders with Ralph as the ultimate authority. Upon inspection of the island, the three determine that it has fruit and wild pigs for food. The boys also use Piggy's glasses to create a fire. Although he is Ralph's only real confidant, Piggy is quickly made into an outcast by his fellow "biguns" (older boys) and becomes an unwilling source of laughs for the other children while being hated by Jack. Simon, in addition to supervising the project of constructing shelters, feels an instinctive need to protect the "littluns" (younger boys).
The semblance of order quickly deteriorates as the majority of the boys turn idle; they give little aid in building shelters, spend their time having fun and begin to develop paranoias about the island. The central paranoia refers to a supposed monster they call the "beast", which they all slowly begin to believe exists on the island. Ralph insists that no such beast exists, but Jack, who has started a power struggle with Ralph, gains a level of control over the group by boldly promising to kill the creature. At one point, Jack summons all of his hunters to hunt down a wild pig, drawing away those assigned to maintain the signal fire. A ship travels by the island, but without the boys' smoke signal to alert the ship's crew, the vessel continues without stopping. Ralph angrily confronts Jack about his failure to maintain the signal; in frustration Jack assaults Piggy, breaking one of the lenses of his glasses. The boys subsequently enjoy their first feast. Angered by the failure of the boys to attract potential rescuers, Ralph considers relinquishing his position as leader, but is persuaded not to do so by Piggy, who both understands Ralph's importance and deeply fears what will become of him should Jack take total control.
One night, an aerial battle occurs near the island while the boys sleep, during which a fighter pilot ejects from his plane and dies in the descent. His body drifts down to the island in his parachute; both get tangled in a tree near the top of the mountain. Later on, while Jack continues to scheme against Ralph, the twins Sam and Eric, now assigned to the maintenance of the signal fire, see the corpse of the fighter pilot and his parachute in the dark. Mistaking the corpse for the beast, they run to the cluster of shelters that Ralph and Simon have erected, to warn the others. This unexpected meeting again raises tensions between Jack and Ralph. Shortly thereafter, Jack decides to lead a party to the other side of the island, where a mountain of stones, later called Castle Rock, forms a place where he claims the beast resides. Only Ralph and a quiet suspicious boy, Roger, Jack's closest supporter, agree to go; Ralph turns back shortly before the other two boys but eventually all three see the parachutist, whose head rises via the wind. They then flee, now believing the beast is truly real. When they arrive at the shelters, Jack calls an assembly and tries to turn the others against Ralph, asking them to remove Ralph from his position. Receiving no support, Jack storms off alone to form his own tribe. Roger immediately sneaks off to join Jack, and slowly an increasing number of older boys abandon Ralph to join Jack's tribe. Jack's tribe continues to lure recruits from the main group by promising feasts of cooked pig. The members begin to paint their faces and enact bizarre rites, including sacrifices to the beast. One night, Ralph and Piggy decide to go to one of Jack's feasts.
Simon, who faints frequently and is probably an epileptic, has a secret hideaway where he goes to be alone. One day while he is there, Jack and his followers erect an offering to the beast nearby: a pig's head, mounted on a sharpened stick and soon swarming with scavenging flies. Simon conducts an imaginary dialogue with the head, which he dubs the "Lord of the Flies". The head mocks Simon's notion that the beast is a real entity, "something you could hunt and kill", and reveals the truth: they, the boys, are the beast; it is inside them all. The Lord of the Flies also warns Simon that he is in danger, because he represents the soul of man, and predicts that the others will kill him. Simon climbs the mountain alone and discovers that the "beast" is the dead parachutist. He rushes down to tell the other boys, who are engaged in a ritual dance. The frenzied boys mistake Simon for the beast, attack him, and beat him to death. Both Ralph and Piggy participate in the melee, and they become deeply disturbed by their actions after returning from Castle Rock.
Jack and his rebel band decide that the real symbol of power on the island is not the conch, but Piggy's glasses—the only means the boys have of starting a fire. They raid Ralph's camp, confiscate the glasses, and return to their abode on Castle Rock. Ralph, now deserted by most of his supporters, journeys to Castle Rock to confront Jack and secure the glasses. Taking the conch and accompanied only by Piggy, Sam, and Eric, Ralph finds the tribe and demands that they return the valuable object. Confirming their total rejection of Ralph's authority, the tribe capture and bind the twins under Jack's command. Ralph and Jack engage in a fight which neither wins before Piggy tries once more to address the tribe. Any sense of order or safety is permanently eroded when Roger, now sadistic, deliberately drops a boulder from his vantage point above, killing Piggy and shattering the conch. Ralph manages to escape, but Sam and Eric are tortured by Roger until they agree to join Jack's tribe.
Ralph secretly confronts Sam and Eric, who warn him that Jack and Roger hate him and that Roger has sharpened a stick at both ends, implying the tribe intends to hunt him like a pig and behead him. The following morning, Jack orders his tribe to begin a hunt for Ralph. Jack's savages set fire to the forest while Ralph desperately weighs his options for survival. Following a long chase, most of the island is consumed in flames. With the hunters closely behind him, Ralph trips and falls. He looks up at a uniformed adult—a British naval officer whose party has landed from a passing cruiser to investigate the fire. Ralph bursts into tears over the death of Piggy and the "end of innocence". Jack and the other children, filthy and unkempt, also revert to their true ages and erupt into sobs. The officer expresses his disappointment at seeing British boys exhibiting such feral, warlike behaviour before turning to stare awkwardly at his own warship.
At an allegorical level, the central theme is the conflicting human impulses toward civilisation and social organisation—living by rules, peacefully and in harmony—and toward the will to power. Themes include the tension between groupthink and individuality, between rational and emotional reactions, and between morality and immorality. How these play out, and how different people feel the influences of these form a major subtext of Lord of the Flies. The name "Lord of the Flies" is a literal translation of Beelzebub, from 2 Kings 1:2–3, 6, 16.
In February 1960, Floyd C. Gale of Galaxy Science Fiction rated Lord of the Flies five stars out of five, stating that "Golding paints a truly terrifying picture of the decay of a minuscule society ... Well on its way to becoming a modern classic".
In his book Moral Minds: How Nature Designed Our Universal Sense of Right and Wrong (first edition, 2006, page 252), Marc D. Hauser says the following about William Golding's Lord of the Flies: 'This riveting fiction, standard reading in most intro courses to English literature, should be standard reading in biology, economics, psychology, and philosophy.'
There have been three film adaptations based on the book:
A fourth adaptation, to feature an all-female cast, was announced by Warner Bros. in August 2017. Scott McGehee and David Siegel are slated to write and direct. The film's concept has been negatively received, with some stating that an all-female cast goes against the novel's themes of masculinity and male power.
In October 2014 it was announced that the 2011 production of Lord of the Flies would return to conclude the 2015 season at the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre ahead of a major UK tour. The production was to be directed by the Artistic Director Timothy Sheader who won the 2014 Whatsonstage.com Awards Best Play Revival for To Kill A Mockingbird.
In June 2013, BBC Radio 4 Extra broadcast a dramatisation by Judith Adams in four 30-minute episodes directed by Sasha Yevtushenko. The cast included Ruth Wilson as "The Narrator", Finn Bennett as "Ralph", Richard Linnel as "Jack", Caspar Hilton-Hilley as "Piggy" and Jack Caine as "Simon".
Many writers have borrowed plot elements from Lord of the Flies. By the early 1960s, it was required reading in many schools and colleges.
Stephen King's fictional town of Castle Rock, inspired by the fictional mountain fort of the same name in Lord of the Flies, in turn inspired the name of Rob Reiner's production company, Castle Rock Entertainment, which produced the film Lord of the Flies (1990).
Stephen King got the name Castle Rock from the fictional mountain fort of the same name in Lord of the Flies and used the name to refer to a fictional town that has appeared in a number of his novels. The book itself appears prominently in his novels Hearts in Atlantis (1999), Misery (1987), and Cujo (1981).
Stephen King wrote an introduction for a new edition of Lord of the Flies (2011) to mark the centenary of William Golding's birth in 2011.
The novel Garden Lakes by Jaime Clarke is an homage to Lord of the Flies.
The Blues Traveler song "Justify the Thrill," included on the 1997 album "Straight on Till Morning," makes reference to the Lord of the Flies in the lyrics: "The pig's head on a stick does grin / As we teeter on the brink / He's singing you are all my children / My island's bigger than you think."
Castle Rock, which King in turn had got from Golding's Lord of the Flies.
Paul Balthazar Getty (; born January 22, 1975) is an American actor and musician. He is a member of the band Ringside, the producer-half of rap duo The Wow, and a member of the Getty family. He is known for having played the roles of Ralph in Lord of the Flies, his recurring role as Richard Montana in Charmed, Thomas Grace on the American action drama Alias and Tommy Walker on the American drama Brothers & Sisters, the latter two of which have aired on ABC.Beelzebub
Beelzebub or Beelzebul ( bee-EL-zi-bub or BEEL-zi-bub; Hebrew: בַּעַל זְבוּב Baʿal Zəvûv) is a name derived from a Philistine god, formerly worshipped in Ekron, and later adopted by some Abrahamic religions as a major demon. The name Beelzebub is associated with the Canaanite god Baal.
In theological sources, predominantly Christian, Beelzebub is sometimes another name for the Devil, similar to Satan. He is known in demonology as one of the seven princes of Hell. The Dictionnaire Infernal describes Beelzebub as a being capable of flying, known as the "Lord of the Flyers", or the "Lord of the Flies".Carved in Stone (Rage album)
Carved in Stone is the 18th studio album by the German heavy metal band Rage. The album includes a bonus DVD with their full show at Wacken Open Air in August 2007 (featuring a symphonic orchestra from Minsk, Belarus, which under the name Lingua Mortis Orchestra toured with Rage in Europe) plus the videos for the songs "Lord of the Flies" and "Open My Grave".Castle Rock (Stephen King)
Castle Rock is part of Stephen King's fictional Maine topography and provides the setting for a number of his novels, novellas, and short stories. Castle Rock appeared first in King's 1979 novel The Dead Zone and lately in the novels Doctor Sleep (2013) and Revival (2014) and the novella Elevation (2018). (See list of works below.) The town name is taken from the fictional mountain fort in William Golding's 1954 novel Lord of the Flies.King, a native of Durham, Maine, created a trinity of fictional Maine towns— Castle Rock, Derry and Jerusalem's Lot — as central settings in more than one work.Chris Furrh
Chris Furrh is an American former child actor, known for starring as Jack Merridew in the 1990 film adaptation of Lord of the Flies. After Lord of the Flies, he played the role of Nick Bankston in the 1990 telefilm A Family for Joe and, like in Lord of the Flies, he played Tommy, a castaway teenager in The Wonderful World of Disney film Exile. In 1991, Furrh retired from acting.Compound Eye Sessions
Compound Eye Sessions is an collaboration between Marc Heal (Ashtrayhead, Cubanate) as MC Lord of the Flies and Raymond Watts (PIG, ex-KMFDM). Two songs from the PIG side of the EP titled "Drugzilla" and "Shake" were previously released as rough mixes on Marc Heal's personal SoundCloud page. A limited run of 500 physical copies was released by Armalyte Records on April 13, 2015. The EP is also available digitally through Bandcamp and iTunes. This release also marks the first official PIG release in ten years since 2005's Pigmata, that of which Marc Heal also contributed to.Danuel Pipoly
Danuel Pipoly (born March 11, 1978) is an American former actor, most famous for starring as Piggy in the 1990 film adaptation of Lord of the Flies. He received two award nominations as a result of his work with Lord of the Flies, including one for best young supporting actor.Das Bus
"Das Bus" is the fourteenth episode of The Simpsons' ninth season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on February 15, 1998. In an extended parody of Lord of the Flies, Bart, Lisa and other students from Springfield Elementary School are stranded on an island and are forced to work together. Meanwhile, Homer founds his own Internet company. It was written by David X. Cohen and directed by Pete Michels. Guest star James Earl Jones narrates the final scene of the episode.Forbidden Island (TV series)
Forbidden Island is a 1999 American TV series.
It was filmed in New Zealand. It was described as Lord of the Flies meets The X Files.James Aubrey (actor)
James Aubrey Tregidgo (28 August 1947 – 6 April 2010), known professionally as James Aubrey, was an English stage and screen actor. He trained for the stage at the Drama Centre London. He made his professional acting debut in a 1962 production of Isle of Children. Aubrey made his screen acting debut in the 1963 adaptation of Lord of the Flies. Aubrey performed with the Royal Shakespeare Company during their 1974–1975 season. Theatres at which Aubrey performed included the Birmingham Repertory Theatre, the Comedy Theatre and the Old Vic. His last television work was in an episode of Brief Encounters in 2006.James Badge Dale
James Badgett Dale (born May 1, 1978), known professionally as James Badge Dale, is an American actor. He is known for playing Chase Edmunds in 24, State Trooper Barrigan in Martin Scorsese's The Departed, and Eric Savin in Iron Man 3.Lord of the Flies (1963 film)
Lord of the Flies is a 1963 British drama film, based on William Golding's novel of the same name about 30 schoolboys who are marooned on an island where the behaviour of the majority degenerates into savagery. It was written and directed by Peter Brook and produced by Lewis M. Allen. The film was in production for much of 1961, though the film did not premiere until 1963, and was not released in the United Kingdom until 1964. Golding himself supported the film. When Kenneth Tynan was a script editor for Ealing Studios he commissioned a script of Lord of the Flies from Nigel Kneale, but Ealing Studios closed in 1959 before it could be produced.
The novel was adapted into a movie for a second time in 1990; the 1963 film is generally considered more faithful to the novel than the 1990 adaptation.Lord of the Flies (1990 film)
Lord of the Flies is a 1990 American survival drama film directed by Harry Hook and starring Balthazar Getty, Chris Furrh, Danuel Pipoly and James Badge Dale. It was produced by Lewis M. Allen and written by Jay Presson Allen under the pseudonym "Sarah Schiff", based on the 1954 book Lord of the Flies, by William Golding. It is the second film adaptation of the book, after Lord of the Flies (1963).
The film differs in many ways from both its predecessor film and the novel. Lord of the Flies centers on Ralph mainly, as the children try to initiate a society after crash-landing on an uncharted island, but things go awry.
The film was released on March 16, 1990 by Columbia Pictures, with film rights now belonging to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Upon and since its release, the film has received mixed reviews, generally more negative than its 1963 counterpart. Most critics praise the film's scenery but center upon the film's deviations from the novel as a central flaw. However, the movie grossed $14 million and has acquired a cult following.Lord of the Flies (The X-Files)
"Lord of the Flies" is the fifth episode of the ninth season of the science fiction television series The X-Files, and the show's 187th episode overall. It first premiered on the Fox network in the United States on December 16, 2001, and was subsequently aired in the United Kingdom on BBC Two. The episode was written by Thomas Schnauz, and was directed by Kim Manners. The episode is a "monster-of-the-week" episode, a stand-alone plot which is unconnected to the mythology, or overarching fictional history, of The X-Files. "Lord of the Flies" earned a Nielsen household rating of 6.2, and was watched by 9.9 million viewers. The episode received mixed reviews from television critics, with many critical of the episode's reliance on humor.
The show centers on FBI special agents who work on cases linked to the paranormal, called X-Files; this season focuses on the investigations of John Doggett (Robert Patrick), Monica Reyes (Annabeth Gish), and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson). In this episode, an amateur stunt performer is killed while performing a daring act for a local cable reality show. Scully, Doggett and Reyes discover that the culprit was apparently a swarm of killer flies hidden in the victim's brain.
"Lord of the Flies" marked a return of comedic episodes to the series. Due to this, Patrick had issues with his acting because, initially, he felt the entry was too foolish. The aggressiveness of flies in the episode was inspired by the actual habits of Australian blow flies.Lord of the Flies (disambiguation)
Lord of the Flies is a 1954 novel by William Golding.
Lord of the Flies may also refer to:
Beelzebub, a satanic being
Lord of the Flies (1963 film), 1963 British drama film based on the novel
Lord of the Flies (1990 film), 1990 American thriller film based on the novel
"Lord of the Flies" (song), 1995 song by Iron Maiden
Lord of the Flies (album), fourth full-length studio album by English Gothic rock band Nosferatu
"Lord of the Flies" (The X-Files), fifth episode of the ninth season of the television series, The X-Files
A fictional substance with strange properties from His Master's Voice (novel), synthesized from an alien messageLord of the Flies (song)
"Lord of the Flies" is an Iron Maiden single and second track on their 1995 album The X Factor. The song is based on the book and film of the same name.The Coral Island
The Coral Island: A Tale of the Pacific Ocean (1858) is a novel written by Scottish author R. M. Ballantyne. One of the first works of juvenile fiction to feature exclusively juvenile heroes, the story relates the adventures of three boys marooned on a South Pacific island, the only survivors of a shipwreck.
A typical Robinsonade – a genre of fiction inspired by Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe – and one of the most popular of its type, the book first went on sale in late 1857 and has never been out of print. Among the novel's major themes are the civilising effect of Christianity, 19th-century British imperialism in the South Pacific, and the importance of hierarchy and leadership. It was the inspiration for William Golding's dystopian novel Lord of the Flies (1954), which inverted the morality of The Coral Island; in Ballantyne's story the children encounter evil, but in Lord of the Flies evil is within them.
In the early 20th century, the novel was considered a classic for primary school children in the UK, and in the United States it was a staple of high-school suggested reading lists. Modern critics consider the book's worldview to be dated and imperialist, but although less popular today, The Coral Island was adapted into a four-part children's television drama broadcast by ITV in 2000.The Hot Gates
The Hot Gates is the title of a collection of essays by William Golding, author of Lord of the Flies. The collection is divided into four sections: "People and Places", "Books", "Westward Look" and "Caught in a Bush". Published in 1965, it includes pieces that Golding had written over the previous ten years. "Caught in a Bush" contains his childhood recollections "Billy the Kid" and "The Ladder and the Tree", and his essay "Fable", which answered questions about Lord of the Flies appears in "Books". "Fable" is based on lectures Golding gave at UCLA in California and he hoped it would answer "some of the standard questions which students were asking" (7). The book starts out with an essay on the Battle of Thermopylae, which can be translated from ancient Greek to English as "hot gates", thus giving it the title. The Hot Gates are famous for being the place where Leonidas I made his last stand against the Persian army under Xerxes I.William Golding
Sir William Gerald Golding, (19 September 1911 – 19 June 1993) was a British novelist, playwright, and poet. Best known for his novel Lord of the Flies, he won a Nobel Prize in Literature and was awarded the Booker Prize for fiction in 1980 for his novel Rites of Passage, the first book in what became his sea trilogy, To the Ends of the Earth.
Golding was knighted in 1988. He was a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. In 2008, The Times ranked Golding third on their list of "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945". Brasenose College, Oxford offers a non-stipendiary William Golding Fellowship in the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences.
Works by William Golding
William Golding's Lord of the Flies