Saturday, March 21, 2009

Lord of the Flies - Fall of the Human

I read William Golding's Lord of the Flies recently and was throughly amazed, shocked and felt like I was introduced to a new genre of writing. We all know about how human beings are susceptible to falling prey to the inner evil and savagery which is perhaps inherent in human nature and is kept very well controlled and cordoned by the rules, law and order of the human civilization.

All the wars and prison crimes are the prima facie evidence of this human fallacy. I believe that women are less prone to being violent and being savage. This could be a feminist belief of mine. Still all the characters in the whole story are either boys or men.Golding brings forth the complete fall of human culture to savagery in complete detail with gradual stepping of time.

Kids stranded on an island start with all the civil manners and rules even speaking one at a time and having assemblies and even withholding a conch as the symbol of authority and order. They even select a sensible older kid Ralph as chief who understands and hopes to be rescued and charts out the grand plan of always having a smoke or fire burning to attract attention of passing ships. The kids have a great time surviving on fruits enjoying beaches and sunshine and create shelters.

Few kids like Jack are intent on hunting and form a group of hunters who initially wary of killing something end up becoming adept at hunting. The hunting becomes such a short term but passionate goal that kids end up ignoring long term goal of keeing a fire burning. The fear of an imagined beast gives more power to the hunters group and they end up falling into two groups with the chasm between them growing deeper and deeper.

The power struggle between Ralph and Jack leads them to form two isolated groups with Ralph's group having the power of burning fires and the other group having the power to hunt and have meat.A smart kid called Simon ends up moving alone through the forest and when tries to rejoin the kids is mistaken as the beast and killed by the hunters group in the feast thrown after hunting. The sensible kids like Ralph were also part of the group at the time Simon's murder happens and a deep sense of gulit engulfs the sensible group for being a part of the murdering mob.

The hunters group starts working on more primitive instincts and even cover their faces with paint to complete their drift from civilization and act like barbarians. They attack the Ralph's group for snatching the glasses used for lighting fires. When Ralph's group tries to get the glasses back, the sensible kid Piggy who owned the glasses is killed by hunters. Two other kids who are twins are captured by the hunters and Ralph is forced to run for his life.

The climax of the story is all about Ralph running for his life from the hunters group even without having done anything wrong to any of them. There's a chilling fear in the Ralph's run for his life while the hunters chase him mercilessly. Hunters' group sets fire to the forest to smoke Ralph out of the jungle wilderness and kill him. Ralph manages to save his life by ending up on the beach where he encounters a navy officer. The ship noticed the island after seeing the smoke emerging from the island and came to look for life.

Ship officer is amazed to see the kids encounter and intially understands it to be a game, but soon comes to know about the chilling real life killings being done by the kids. When the officer asks about who's the leader, then Ralph tells the officer that its him, Jack finally doesnt protest and accepts Ralph to be the leader. Then Ralph bursts out crying at the savage situation in which they ended up being instead of behaving as cultured human beings and all the kids follow suit and start crying.

The story was written by the Nobel Prize winning author around in 1950s and gained popularity long after the publishing. Now the book is recognized as a modern classic and is a part of school curriculum in various countries like US & UK. There are two movies based on it and I read the movies reviews as well and I believe the Ist movie does more justice to the book and is more realistic.

I intend to watch the movie as well and will perhaps add to this entry after watching the movie. Do read the book !
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