IVP - Andy Unedited - Lord of the Flies

September 19, 2011

Lord of the Flies

Since I was a choir boy during most of grade school, Lord of the Flies by William Golding had a special place in my imagination. When I first came across the book, the dark tale of British choir boys gone native on a deserted island was the perfect denizen for my eighth-grade adolescent psyche.

Lord of the flies.jpgToday marks the hundredth anniversary of Golding’s birth, a writer who won both the Nobel Prize for Literature and the Booker Prize. He is the author of many fine novels, plays and short stories, but Lord of the Flies continues to be his signature piece.

The irony in the book is arresting. The most “innocent” in society (not just children, but choir boys!) from the “most” civilized of societies (England), slowly shed the trappings of both civilization and Christianity. Step by step mild taunts become acts of violence, and the religion of the empire dissipates into paganism. Indeed, “Lord of the Flies” is the translation of Beelzebub. Only in the end are the children rescued by a British naval officer, who is himself involved in a much larger war effort.

The book raises many fundamental questions about human nature. Are we inherently good or inherently evil? How does civilization constrain our violent impulses—or does it simply channel those impulses into more “acceptable” avenues such as sport and war? What is the character of our spiritual nature? Why are we so often drawn toward the forces of the Prince of Darkness? How do we overcome that?

I have continued to sing in choirs for most of the years since I first read Lord of the Flies. And the questions the book asks continue to be central to our lives.

Posted by Andy Le Peau at September 19, 2011 8:32 AM Bookmark and Share

Comments

This is a great book to highlight. It was the one read during high school (and I read very little during those years) that in many ways led to my subsequent literary pursuits.

Comment by: Chris Donato at September 26, 2011 3:31 PM

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book cover"Some publishers tell you what to believe. Other publishers tell you what you already believe. But InterVarsity Press helps you believe," says J. I. Packer. Andy Le Peau and Linda Doll describe how this came to be a hallmark of InterVarsity Press in Heart. Soul. Mind. Strength, an anecdotal history spanning the sixty years from the founding of IVP in 1947 to the present day.