William Golding. Lord of the Flies. London/New York: Wideview/Perigee, 1954
Reviewed by T. Hatch
Stranded on an island by an unfortunate plane wreck a group of English boys, inspired by the leadership of a strapping redheaded lad named Jack Merridew, are able to avoid starvation and are eventually rescued by the British Navy. All the while the boys learn many valuable lessons about nature and at the same time enjoy a smashing good adventure. This despite the disinclination of some of their number (namely Ralph and Piggy) to shake off the shackles of ritual and custom enforced by bureaucracy.
Shortly after their forced arrival on the island the natural born bureaucrats Ralph and Piggy convene a meeting of the survivors. Ralph in his untrammeled quest for power hastily arranges an election. Cynically using democracy as a prop Ralph successfully demagogues his way to control on a platform of having fun and being rescued. Jack and his fellow choirboys are initially cowed into submission. But even peace loving choirboys can only endure so much.
Jack and his group in addition to suffering the vicissitudes of oppression are the ones who disproportionately contribute to the well-being of their fellow castaways. In addition to risking great bodily harm to himself hunting wild pigs that inhabit the island Jack selflessly pledges himself to protecting the younger boys. Operating under the best intelligence available at the time Jack and his brave lads are prepared to defend the island society against the encroachment of a monster.
It was only when Ralph and Piggy fail to respond to the threat of the monster and deprive the majority of the means of making fire that Jack and his band of patriots are compelled to act. In a preemptive raid on the camp of the Ralph clique Jack and the boys seize the means of their liberation. In response Ralph, and the oppressive apparatus under his control, attempts to steal the fire starting glasses. Unfortunately it was during this time that Simon and Piggy both adherents to the Ralph tendency met untimely deaths. In the instance of the former it was because he impersonated the monster and in the latter case it was as a result of the defense of the fire starting spectacles. Like the sailors at the Kronstadt garrison these two deaths were a “tragic necessity.”
With the righteous majority victorious the criminal Ralph was on the lamb. But justice is rarely complete and before the will of the people could be achieved Ralph was saved by the British Navy. This too was a result of Jack's selflessness as he had set the fire that the naval war ship spotted. On balance it was a total triumph that only two boys perished. Alls well that ends well.
Burling 3rd floor PR6013 .O35 L6x 1959
More by William Golding:
The Brass Butterfly: A Play in Three Acts
London: Faber and Faber, c1958.
Burling Library Vault PR6013.O35 B7 1958.
The Scorpion God: Three Short Novels
New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich [1972, c1971]
Burling Library 3rd Floor PR6013.O35 S36x 1972.
New York: Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 1987.
Burling Library 3rd Floror PR6013.O35 C5 1987.
London: Faber and Faber, 1979.
Burling Library 3rd Floor PR6013.O35 D3x 1979.
The Double Tongue
New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1995.
Burling Library 3rd Floor PR6013.O35 D68 1995.
Fire Down Below
New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 1989.
Burling Library 3rd Floor PR6013.O35 F5 1989.
New York: Harcourt, Brace [1962, c1959]
Burling Library 3rd Floor PR6013.O35 F7x 1962.
The Hot Gates, nd Other Occasional Pieces
New York: Harcourt, Brace & World [1966, c1965]
Burling Library 3rd Floor PR6013.O35 H6 1966.
New York: Harcourt, Brace & World [1962, c1955]
Burling Library 3rd Floor PR6013.O35 I5x 1962.
A Moving Target
New York: Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 1984, c1983.
Burling Library 3rd Floor PR6013.O35 M6 1984.
The Paper Men
New York: Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 1984.
Burling Library 3rd Floor PR6013.O35 P3 1984.
London: Faber, 1967.
Burling Library 3rd Floor PR6013.O35 P9 1967.
Rites of Passage
New York: Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 1980.
Burling Library 3rd Floor PR6013.O35 R5 1980.
Sometime, Never : Three Tales Of Imagination by William G. Golding, John Wyndham, Mervyn Peake.
New York: Ballantine Books 
Burling Library 3rd Floor PR1309.S3 S65x 1967.
New York, Harcourt, Brace & World 
Burling Library 3rd Floor PR6013.O35 S65 1964.
The Two Deaths of Christopher Martin.
New York, Harcourt, Brace [1957, c1956]
Burling Library 3rd Floor PR6013.O35 T8x 1956.