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Beelzebub, 5. November 2008
The novel 'Lord of the Flies' written by William Golding in the year 1954 (published by Faber & Faber in London - ISBN 0571056865) is about a group of British school boys which crashes with an airplane on an island. The 'stranded' boys gather at the beach and soon they notice that there are no adults and that they have to make up rules and vote somebody for chief. Time goes by and all efforts for their rescue fail because some of the boys are not interested in the important signal fire. They want to do their own (childish) business: hunting, playing and swimming. Soon the situation gets out of control and some boys start to ignore the rules - for example they don't listen when the conch is blown. Ralph who is the elected leader is worried about the whole situation but it is too late and the boys are already spitted in two groups: the savages and Ralph's group. Jack, the leader of the savages - using violent methods - wants everybody to obey him. There is no hope anymore for Ralph's group and finally when there is only Ralph, the last 'resistance fighter', left - a ship finds its way to the island and the British boys are rescued.
In a breathtaking way Golding describes the hopeless situation on the island, when the savagery beats the civilization. The reader of the novel becomes a member of the group and feels with Ralph who tries to convince the boys how important it is to follow the rules. The problem is - and this is Golding's bitter truth - that in every child, in every woman and in every man is an dark and evil side. He illustrates the whole mankind with an example of a handful British schoolboys who kill each other with a disgusting blood lust. The well-conceited story told by an omniscient narrator develops into a catastrophe.
Although it is a fictional novel the reader of the text would not like the fact that Golding leaves the doors wide open relating to time and place. Nobody knows what mentioned war is going on outside of the idyllic island and nobody knows how the boys are able to survive - not like Crusoe - without any knowledge about making tools and using them in the right way.
Nevertheless William Golding absolutely deserved to win the Nobel Prize of literature in 1983 with this novel. 'Fiction and reality'* have never been as close as in Golding's novel and not only adolescents should read 'Lord of the Flies' and how it shows its true colors.
*Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung