(Note for English readers : the second part of this article was written in English)
Vous connaissez peut-être ce livre en version française sous le titre "Sa majesté des mouches" (Ed. Folio).
Pour ma part, je l'ai lu en anglais (ce fut d'ailleurs difficile: ce type a une richesse de vocabulaire proprement hallucinante...), ce qui explique le fait que le titre soit en V.O.! Pour information, l'exemplaire que j'ai est des éditions "Faber and Faber"; il fait un peu plus de 220 pages (et il coûte 50 francs)... Si vous décidez de le lire en anglais (ce qui est vraiment le top!), je vous conseille de ne pas utiliser le dictionnaire à chaque mot inconnu (ce serait trop fastidieux... Il faut s'arrêter au moins tous les cinq mots...): essayez simplement de deviner le mot avec le contexte: c'est mieux et plus rapide... Enfin, c'est vous qui voyez...
Quoi qu'il en soit, ce livre a été écrit par l'écrivain anglais William Golding en 1954.
J'ai découvert ce livre grâce à mon groupe culte Iron Maiden: en effet, dans leur dernier album (The X Factor), il y a une chanson qui s'appelle "Lord of the Flies" et qui est inspirée du roman en question (NDMM: non? Pas possible? Quelle sacrée coïncidence quand même!). Enfin, bref, tout ça pour (re)dire que le Hard Rock ne rend pas forcément bête... Certains groupes font preuve d'une grande culture (c'est le cas d'Iron Maiden!).
Enfin, de toute façon, tout le monde s'en tamponne les amygdales (avec la patte d'un alligator femelle!) de mes réflexions métaphysiques; mais bon, c'était juste pour trouver une introduction à cet article...
Avant donc de vous parler de ce livre génial, voici une (petite) biographie de Golding...
Un petit résumé du livre...
L'histoire est assez bizarre. Un groupe de jeunes enfants se retrouve perdu sur une étrange île à la suite du crash de l'avion dans lequel ils se trouvaient. Il n'y a donc aucun adulte parmi eux, les plus vieux ont en effet moins de quinze ans... Les enfants seront toutefois divisés en deux catégories par Golding: les littluns qui sont les plus petits, les biguns qui sont les plus grands...
L'histoire débute avec Ralph, un des personnages centraux du roman. L'accident vient d'avoir lieu et il explore l'île étrange sur laquelle il se trouve. Il rencontrera immédiatement un autre môme surnommé Piggy ("Porcinet" en français) parce qu'il est relativement gros... De plus, il a de l'asthme...
Peu à peu, d'autres enfants font leur apparition et viennent se joindre à la petite bande. Finalement, ils se retrouvent tous sur la plage...
Après avoir examiné l'île, ils doivent admettre qu'ils sont perdus...
Ne sachant que faire sur cette île à la végétation aussi luxuriante que mystérieuse, et désirant bien entendu rentrer chez eux, ils décident d'élire un chef: ce sera Ralph. Cette élection crée une tension entre Ralph et Jack, un autre grand qui à tendance à être particulièrement agressif (il déteste d'ailleurs Piggy!), car ils ont une vision totalement différente de la situation: Ralph veut faire un feu sur la montagne (grâce aux lunettes à triple épaisseur de Piggy!) pour faire de la fumée et donc se faire remarquer par les éventuels bateaux passant à proximité de l'étrange île, tandis que Jack ne pense qu'à une chose: prendre du bon temps et chasser les cochons sauvages qui vivent dans la sombre forêt...
Ils décident d'effectuer régulièrement des réunions grâce à un gros coquillage [en fait une sorte de conque] (shell) dont ils se servent pour appeler les autres (en soufflant dedans comme une trompe!) et pour prendre la parole lors des discussions de groupe.
Ils vont construirent des huttes sur la plage pour s'abriter et cueillir des fruits pour se nourrir... Bref, c'est comme Robinson Crusoé...
Si, au début, la cohabitation se passe relativement bien entre Ralf et Jack (ce dernier passant son temps à chasser), la scission finira par avoir lieu suite à la découverte d'une soit disant créature qui les épie la nuit et vit dans la forêt (Beast)... Jack décide bien entendu de faire une battue avec ses chasseurs (ceux qui ramènent la viande!) tandis que Ralph préfère que tous se concentrent sur le maintient du feu, condition sine qua non à ses yeux pour espérer être sauvé...
Une expédition, menée par les deux rivaux, échouera...
Finalement, le feu s'éteint par la négligence des mômes et Jack, suite à une altercation avec Ralph, décide de quitter le groupe pour aller vivre dans la forêt... Bien évidement, il entraînera avec lui ses "supporters", c'est-à-dire les chasseurs.
Peu à peu, de plus en plus d'enfants se rallient à la cause de Jack qu'ils jugent plus amusante... Et ce, bien entendu, au grand désarroi de Piggy et Ralph qui ne pensent qu'au feu et à être sauvés!
Jack, avec son nouveau groupe de chasseurs, décide de tuer un cochon sauvage pour ensuite appâter ceux qui sont encore fidèles à Ralph. Ils tuent donc, au cours d'une chasse mémorable, une truie et décident de faire une offrande à la soi-disant créature vivant sur l'île. Ils coupent donc la tête de la truie et la plante sur un piquet; c'est une sorte de don pour le monstre.
Simon s'approche du piquet et regarde attentivement la tête... Il sera prit d'une sorte d'hallucination: la tête lui parle (enfin il le croit...)! Il faut dire que la vue du sang et des amas de mouches dessus ont du quelque peu le choquer... Bref, la voix se présente comme étant le Lord of the Flies (NDMM: je comprends mieux maintenant pourquoi l'image faite par Maiden pour illustrer la chanson était la tête d'Eddie sur un piquet avec des mouches partout autour...). Suite à la discussion, Simon finira par s'évanouir...
Décidés à appâter les autres avec de la viande, Jack fait une petite réunion de nuit... Les autres, évidemment, viennent... Même Ralf et Piggy d'ailleurs...
Après avoir mangé, les nouveaux venus (dont Ralph et Piggy, bien sûr!) assistent à la danse des chasseurs (le groupe de Jack): la bloody dance! Une sorte de transe où ils dansent avec leurs lances...
Il se met à pleuvoir... La foudre et le tonnerre sont de la partie...
Soudain, Simon, couvert de sang (il a saigné du nez au moment où il s'est évanoui!) déboule en plein milieu de la danse en criant comme un hystérique (il essaye de leur parler de la voix de tantôt!). Les danseurs, en transe, se mettront à le pourchasser... comme un cochon sauvage...
Simon sera tué...
L'ambiance va alors changer... Même s'ils se forcent à admettre que sa mort était un accident, il y a un certain malaise avec l'autre groupe (celui dirigé par Jack!)...
Ce dernier va d'ailleurs monter une expédition pou voler le feu au groupe de Ralph: ils les attaquent la nuit, par surprise, pour faire diversion et leur volent le feu (et les lunettes de Piggy par la même occasion!).
Là, la haine entre les deux groupe va empirer... jusqu'à atteindre son paroxysme!
Ralf, Piggy et les quelques mômes qui lui sont encore dévoués décident d'aller chercher le feu et les lunettes dans le repère de Jack et de sa bande: Castle Rock (une sorte de colline ressemblant à un château fort quoi...)... Bien sûr, sans lunettes, Piggy est myope comme une taupe et l'ascension est assez malaisée... Ils ont pris avec eux la fameuse conque et, arrivé au pied de la forteresse, Ralph souffle dedans... Les membres de la bande de Jack apparaissent alors, le visage peint comme des sauvages et armés de lances... S'en suit une discussion assez musclée où Ralph essaye de raisonner ces sauvages. Arrive alors Jack (il revient de la chasse).
Ralph traite ce dernier de voleur, ce qui à pour conséquence de déclencher un baston entre les deux leaders.
A la surprise générale, Piggy souffle dans la conque et tente de raisonner leurs adversaires...
Soudain, un cailloux frappe Piggy du menton au genoux. La conque se brise en mille morceaux et, sans même avoir eut le temps de crier, Piggy fait une chute mortelle sur les rochers en contrebas...
Tout cela est bien entendu la faute d'un des membres de la bande à Jack: Roger...
La mort de Piggy et la destruction de la conque (seul vestige du pouvoir de Ralph comme chef puisqu'il a été élu avec!) sonne le glas de la bande à Ralph.
Finalement, ce dernier s'enfuit en évitant in extremis les tirs de ses adversaires; quant à ses compagnons, ils finissent par se rendre et être incoporés au groupe de Jack...
Ralph se retrouve donc seul dans la forêt. Au hasard de sa course, il se retrouve dans la clairière où est disposé la tête de truie plantée sur le bâton (le Lord of the Flies)... Il ne reste évidemment plus que le squelette... Ralph s'empare du gros bâton: cela fera une arme!
De nuit, il décide d'escalader un flan de la forteresse... Il y retrouvera d'anciens compagnons, des littluns: les jumeaux (twins). Ceux-ci lui apprennent que Jack veut le tuer et qu'ils serviront d'appât...
Après avoir dormi à proximité du camp adversaire (une belle cachette!), il se réveille en entendant des cris et s'enfuit dans la forêt, poursuivi par les sauvages de Jack...
Soudain, une grande fumée et un odeur intenable font leur apparition: ils ont mis le feu à la forêt pour pouvoir le faire fuir de sa cachette et l'attraper...
Au moment où sa fin est proche, Ralph aperçoit sur la plage un homme en uniforme: c'est un marin! Ce dernier est surpris par le look de Ralph (sale et cheveux longs) qui se dirige vers lui; il lui annonce qu'il a vu la fumée et qu'il est venu les chercher... Le marin pense qu'ils jouaient tranquillement sur l'île... Il sera surpris en apprenant qu'il y a eu deux morts...
Quoi qu'il en soit, ils vont désormais rentrer chez eux...
Mais rien ne sera plus vraiment comme avant.
Ce roman de Golding est très pessimiste: il montre, contrairement à ce que certains affirment, que l'homme n'est pas naturellement bon. En effet, il ne met en scène dans cette histoire que des enfants (et quoi de plus innocent qu'un enfant?) et montre que sans loi ni carcans en général, donc sans repères sociaux, ils régressent à l'état de bêtes sauvages et s'entretuent... Leur civilisation s'écroule et ils retournent à la barbarie...
Sommaire du livre:
Quelques extraits du livre (en anlais, of course!):
"The boy with fair hair lowered himself down the last few feet of rock and began to pick his way towards the lagoon. Though he had taken of his scholl sweater and trailed it now from one hand, his grey shirt stuck to him and his hair was plastered to his forehead. All round him the long scar smashed into the jungle was a bath of heat. He was clambering heavily among the creepers and broken trunks when a bird, a vision of red and yellow, flashed upwards with a witch-like cry; and this cry was echoed by another. "Hi!" it said, "wait a minute!" The undergrowth at the side of the scar was shaken and a multitude of raindrops fell pattering.
"Wait a minute," the voice said, "I got caught up." The fair boy stopped and jerked his stokings with an automatic gesture that made the jungle seem for a moment like the Home Counties."
[Extrait du chapitre 1]
"By the time Ralph finished blowing the conch the platform was crowded. There were differences between this meeting and the one held in the morning. The afternoon sun slanted in from the other side of the platform and most of the children, feeling too late the smart of sunburn, had put their clothes on. The choir, noticeably less of a group, had discarded their cloaks.
Ralph sat on a fallen trunk, his left side to the sun. On his right were most of the choir; on his left the larger boys who had known each other before the evacuation; before him small children squatted in the grass."
[Extrait du chapitre 2]
"The pig-run kept close to the jumble of rocks that lay down by the water on the other side and Ralph was content to follow Jack along it. If you could shut your ears to the slow suck down of the sea and boil of the return, if you could forget how dun and unvisited were the ferny coverts on either side, then there was a chance that you might put the beast out of mind and dream for a while. The sun had swung over the vertical and the afternoon heat was closing in on the island. Ralph passed a message forward to Jack and when they next came to fruit the whole party stopped and ate.
Sitting, Ralph was aware of the heat for the first time that day. He pulled distastefully at his grey shirt and wondered whether he might undertake the adventure of washing it."
[Extrait du chapitre 7]
"Simon discovered that he had spoken aloud. He opened his eyes quickly and there was the head grinning amusedly in the strange daylight, ignoring the flies, the spilled guts, even ignoring the indignity of being spiked on a stick.
He looked away, licking his dry lips.
A gift for the beast. Might not the beast come for it? The head, he thought, appeared to agree with him. Run away, said the head silently, go back to the others. It was joke really - why should you bother? You were just wrong, that's all. A little headache, something you ate, perhaps. Go back, child, said the head silently. [...] The pile of guts was a black blob of flies that buzzed like a saw. After a while these flies found Simon. [...] They were black and iridescent green and without number; and in front of Simon, the Lord of the Flies hung on his stick and grinned. [...] "You are a silly little boy," said the Lord of the Flies, "just an ignorant, silly little boy." [...] "Well then," said the Lord of the Flies, "you'd better run off and play with the others. They think you're batty. You don't want Ralf to think you're batty, do you? You like Ralph a lot, don't you? And Piggy, and Jack?"
Simon's head was tilted slightly up. His eyes could not break away and the Lord of the Flies hung in space before him.
"What are you doing out here all alone? Aren't you afraid of me?" Simon shook.
"There isn't anyone to help you. Only me. And I'm the Beast." Simon's mouth laboured, brought forth audible words.
"Pig's head on a stick."
"Fancy thinking the Beast was something you could hunt and kill!" said the voice. For a moment ot two the forest and all other dimly appreciated places echoed with the parody of laughter. "You knew, didn't you? I'm part of you? Close, close, close! I'm the reason why it's no go? Why things are they are?"
The laughter shivered again.
"Come now," said the Lord of the Flies. "Get back to the others and we'll forget the whole thing."
Simon's head wobbled. [...] The Lord of the Flies was expanding like a balloon."
[Extrait du chapitre 8]
"Little prickles of sensation ran up and down his back. He stood, the skull about on a level with his face, and held up his hair with two hands. The teeth grinned, the empty sockets seemed to hold his gaze masterfully and without effort.
What was it?
The skull regarded Ralph like one who knows all the answers and won't tell. A sick fear and rage swept him. Fiercely he hit out at the filthy thing in front of him that bobbed like a toy and came back, still grinning into his face, so that he lashed and cried out in loathing."
[Extrait du chapitre 12]
Quelques remarques de critiques littéraires:
E.M. Forster: "Lord of the Flies begins like a Ballantyne yarn, but ends grimly otherwise. Beautifuly written, tragic and provocative."
The Times: "Golding knows exactly what boys are like; he has a compelling imagination; and the vivid realism with which he describes the desintegration of their untried and precarious civilization under the pressure of raw nature carries the reader to the bloody climax... a most absorbing and instructive tale."
BIBLIOGRAPHIE de William Golding:
Pour ceux que l'anglais ne gène pas, voici quelques petits trucs sur "Lord of the Flies" et W. Golding récupérés sur Internet par votre dévoué serviteur!
DEUX PETITES BIOGRAPHIES COMPLEMENTAIRES DE W. GOLDING :
Some of Golding's favorite childhood authors were Edgar Rice Burroughs (Tarzan of the Apes), Robert Ballantyne (Coral Island), and Jules Verne (Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea). Each of these books portrays man as a basically good creature who struggles to avoid the evils of society.
Golding yearned to be like the characters in the fables and stories he read. The island setting for Lord of the Flies and the names Ralph, Jack, and Simon have been taken from Coral Island. "They held me rapt," Golding once said of the books he read. "I dived with the Nautilus, was shot round the moon, crossed Darkest Africa in a balloon, descended to the center of the earth, drifted in the South Atlantic, dying of thirst.... It always sent me indoors for a drink-the fresh waters of the Amazon."
At about the age of twelve Golding decided to be a writer. He planned a twelve-volume work on trade unions but could never complete the enormous undertaking. With his love of reading and his early attempts at writing, Golding of course studied literature in college.
When World War II began in 1939, Golding joined the Royal Navy. He saw action against German warships, he was in antisubmarine and antiaircraft operations, and in 1944 he was involved in the D-Day naval support for the landings on the beaches of Normandy. He continued to read the classics even as he acquired a reputation for loving tense combat. And his war experiences changed his view about mankind's essential nature. Because of the atrocities he witnessed, Golding came to believe that there was a very dark and evil side to man. "The war," he said, "was unlike any other fought in Europe. It taught us not fighting, politics or the follies of nationalism, but about the given nature of man."
After the war Golding returned to teaching in a boys' school, which may explain why the characters in Lord of the Flies seem so real. Ralph, Jack, Piggy, Simon, and the other boys are based on the faces and voices of children Golding knew. Thus his reading of the classics, his war experience, and his new insight into humanity laid the groundwork for his writing.
His first three novels were very much like novels he had read, and he called them the "rubbish" of imitation. They have never been published. His fourth novel was Lord of the Flies, and when it was finally accepted for publication in 1954, it had been turned down by more than twenty publishers.
The book was not considered a success at first. It was not until the 1960s, when it had captured the imaginations of college and high school students, that critics began to acknowledge Golding's talent. Even now there are differing opinions about the novel. Some believe Golding's writing is bombastic and didactic, that he does not allow you to have any opinion but his. Other critics see him as the greatest English writer of our time. You will find that part of the fun of his book lies in deciding for yourself what you think.
Golding continued to write in spite of the controversy over his work. It would seem that the criticism, rather than frightening him, only challenged him to continue writing. In the same way, Golding challenges readers to think about what he considers most important: the true nature of human beings.
The three novels that followed Lord of the Flies--The Inheritors, Pincher Martin, and Free Fall--brought him more success, while the controversy over his talent, or lack of it, continued. Eventually Golding stopped teaching to write full time. In 1983 Golding was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, which is given a writer not for one particular volume but for the body of his work. This was the recognition and respect that many believe he had deserved all along. Golding passed away in Wiltshire, England, in 1993.
William Gerald Golding was born in Cornwall in 1911. His family was progressive and it was the first source of influence for Golding's talent. He studied physics and English literature at Marlboro and Oxford University of England. From the first years of his life, he faced the atrocities of war. He also took part in the Second World War by joining the British Navy at 1940.
The war, as a physical result, changed a lot W.Golding's view of life. W.Golding couldn't believe in man's innocence any longer. He found that even the children are not innocent. No one is innocent until the society and the way of his life make him to pretend that he's innocent. But sometimes, when a man is facing a difficult situation (as an example, a surviving need) then he will propably show his other nature, the dark and guilty nature.
After the war (1945-1962), he worked as a teacher in Salisbury. These years he started to act as a writer. He published the books "Lord of the Flies" (1954), "The Inheritors" (1955), "Pincher Martin" (1956) and "Free Fall" (1959).
The ideas of W.Golding's view of human nature can be found in almost any of Golding's books. Particularly, in his first and most famous book, "Lord of the flies". This book finally published in 1954 and it didn't become a success at once. Today, it's considering as one of the best books of English literature. It also became a film with great success.
William Golding was awarded with the BOOKER Mc CONNEL Prize, the greatest British Literature Prize. Finally in 1983, he was awarded with the NOBEL Prize for his whole offer to the Worldwide Literature.
William Golding have teached also in Greece (in 60's). He always loved Greek literature, and many of his books show clearly his Greek influence. His last book, "The double tongue" (1993), was a novel about Ancient Greece and most specific about Pythia's life. Pythia was the name which used to be given to the Greek Priestess of Delphi oracle. W.Golding tried to describe a woman's life (he tried this before, when he was writing his novel "Darkness Visible" (1979)) who lived in the years of Roman Empire and she happened to be priestess in the last years of the oracle decay. Unfortunately, this book never been finished. William Golding, died in Wiltshire, England in 1993. W.Golding's last book, finally published in 1995, but even it's just a rough draft, it affords to be a great novel.
Irony breaks out between contrasted scenes somewhat distant from one another, and even as far apart as the beginning and the end of the story. For instance, when we first catch sight of Ralph, he is neat, handsome and laughing.... When we last see him he is dirty, in rags and sobbing. He had looked forward to a fine clean game and has lived a sordid, terrible drama. He had anticipated an episode as good as a dream and he has been through a nightmare.
ABOUT GOLDING'S IRONIC USE OF BALLANTYNE'S CORAL ISLAND
In Coral Island, three English boys called Ralph, Jack and Peterkin are shipwrecked on a tropical island, meet pirates and cannibals, and conquer all adversities with English fortitude... good is defined as being English and Christian and jolly, and... evil is unchristian, savage and adult.... Golding regards Coral Island morality as unrealistic, and therefore not truly moral, and he has used it ironically in his own novel, as a foil for his version of man's moral nature.
ABOUT INNOCENCE AND EXPERIENCE
Lord of the Flies becomes a tale of the emergence to the conscious level of modern man's carnivorous nature and the catastrophe that must accompany this emergence....
Simon insists on climbing the mountain to find out what it (the beast) is. Against the boys' derision he says, and against the warning of the Lord of the Flies he repeats, "What else is there to do?" His intransigence in climbing the mountain, his insistence on understanding, is a metaphor for what the book itself does. The book dares to name the beast, the evil in man's heart, as the beast.
A group of boys has been dropped on a tropical island somewhere in the Pacific Ocean, their plane having been shot down. A nuclear war has taken place; civilization has been destroyed.
Ralph, a strong and likable blond, delights in the fact that there are "no grownups" around to supervise them. The boys have the entire island to themselves. Piggy, who is fat, asthmatic, and nearly blind without his glasses, trails behind as Ralph explores the island. When they find a white conch shell, Piggy encourages Ralph to blow on it. Ralph sounds the conch and the other boys appear. Among them is Jack Merridew, marching the boys' choir, military style, in the blazing sun. There are also the twins, Sam and Eric. Simon, short and skinny with black hair, joins the group. Many other boys who are never given names straggle in.
The group elects Ralph as their leader even though Jack would like to be chosen. Ralph, Simon, and Jack explore the island. It's hard for them to believe they're really on their own, but once they're convinced, Jack decides to be the hunter and provide food. A first attempt at killing a piglet fails.
When the conch calls the group together again, they talk about the need for hunters. A small boy with a mulberry-colored birthmark on his face says he is afraid of a snakelike beast in the woods. Is there really such a beast? The boys can't agree. However, the fear of the beast, of the dark, and of what is unknown about the island is very real and an important part of the story. Ralph convinces everyone that they need a fire for a signal in case a ship passes the island.
Starting a fire is impossible until they use Piggy's glasses. Then the boys often abandon the fire to play, finding it hard work keeping the fire going.
Jack becomes more and more obsessed with hunting and the desire to kill. He says that "you can feel as if you're not hunting, but--being hunted, as if something's behind you all the time in the jungle." Jack and his hunters paint their faces to look like masks. Hiding behind the masks, they are able to slaughter a pig. Afterward Jack and the hunters reenact the killing, one of the boys pretending to be the pig.
Again the fear of the beast is mentioned, and the littlest boys cry about their nightmares while the big ones fight about the existence of the beast. Simon says that perhaps the beast is "only us," but the others laugh him down. Their fears mushroom when the twins, Sam and Eric, see something that does indeed look like the beast. Jack and Ralph lead an exploration and come back convinced there is a beast. Jack decides he no longer wants to be part of Ralph's tribe. He leaves, inviting the other boys to follow him.
In spite of their growing terror, Jack leads the hunters into the jungle for the slaying of another pig. He places its head on a stake, much like a primitive offering to the unknown beast. Everyone but the twins and Piggy abandon Ralph to attend Jack's feast of roast pig.
Alone in the woods, Simon has a seizure and talks to the pig's head on the stake. In Simon's hallucination the head becomes the Lord of the Flies and says, "Fancy thinking the Beast was something you could hunt and kill! You knew, didn't you? I'm part of you?"
A great storm builds over the island, and Simon starts back to where the other boys are. As he stumbles through the jungle, he discovers the beast that the twins thought they saw. A dead man who had parachuted from his plane is caught on the rocks. Terrified and sickened by the sight, Simon loosens the lines and frees the dead man, then starts off to tell the others there is no beast.
In the meantime, Ralph has given in and joined Jack's feast, Piggy and the twins follow. They share roast pig and find that the hunters are now treating Jack as a god, serving him and obeying his commands. Ralph and Jack argue over who should be leader. Jack claims the right because he has killed the pig, but Ralph still has the conch. Instead of fighting, Jack suggests they do their pig-killing dance. They begin to chant, "Kill the beast! Cut his throat! Spill his blood!" as the storm overhead gathers force. Piggy and Ralph join the circle to dance with the others. Lightning cuts the sky apart.
When Simon appears, the boys have ceased to be boys playing a game and have become a dangerous mob. They attack Simon, calling him the beast and killing him with their hunting sticks. Only then does the storm finally break and the rain begin to fall. During the night the tide carries the dead boy out to sea.
The next night Jack and two hunters attack Ralph and Piggy and steal Piggy's glasses. Nearly blind without his glasses, Piggy decides that he and Ralph can do nothing but ask Jack to give them back. Sam and Eric, the only others who have remained with Ralph, go along. They take the conch with them.
The fight that has been building between Jack and Ralph over who should be leader finally breaks out. The hunters drag the twins off. A giant boulder is hurled over a ledge, demolishing the conch and striking Piggy. Flung over the cliff, Piggy dies when he hits the rocks below. Jack declares himself chief.
The next day Jack and the hunters plan to cover the island looking for Ralph. He will be stalked in much the same way that Jack has gone after the pigs. Ralph hides and runs, becoming more and more a cornered animal. To smoke him out, a fire is started that quickly spreads over the island.
At the very last moment, when all hope for him seems lost, Ralph stumbles onto the beach and falls at the feet of a man in uniform. Ralph is saved.
While the officer is disappointed at how poorly the boys have managed themselves on the island, Ralph can only weep "for the end of innocence, the darkness of man's heart, and the fall through the air of the true, wise friend called Piggy."
THEMES IN THE BOOK :
THE NEED FOR CIVILIZATION
The most obvious of the themes is man's need for civilization. Contrary to the belief that man is innocent and society evil, the story shows that laws and rules, policemen and schools are necessary to keep the darker side of human nature in line. When these institutions and concepts slip away or are ignored, human beings revert to a more primitive part of their nature.
INNOCENCE AND THE LOSS OF IT
The existence of civilization allows man to remain innocent or ignorant about his true nature. Although man needs civilization, it is important that he also be aware of his more primitive instincts. Only in this way can he reach true maturity.
Golding implies that the loss of innocence has little to do with age but is related to a person's understanding of human nature. It can happen at any age or not at all. Painful though it may be, this loss of innocence by coming to terms with reality is necessary if humanity is to survive.
THE LOSS OF IDENTITY
Civilization separates man from the animals by teaching him to think and make choices. When civilization slips away and man reverts to his more primitive nature, his identity disintegrates. The boys use masks to cover their identity, and this allows them to kill and later to murder. The loss of a personal name personifies the loss of selfhood and identity.
Different types of power, with their uses and abuses, are central to the story. Each kind of power is used by one of the characters. Democratic power is shown when choices and decisions are shared among many. Authoritarian power allows one person to rule by threatening and terrifying others. Spiritual power recognizes internal and external realities and attempts to integrate them. Brute force, the most primitive use of power, is indiscriminate.
FEAR OF THE UNKNOWN
Fear of the unknown on the island revolves around the boys' terror of the beast. Fear is allowed to grow because they play with the idea of it. They cannot fully accept the notion of a beast, nor can they let go of it. They whip themselves into hysteria, and their attempts to resolve their fears are too feeble to convince themselves one way or the other. The recognition that no real beast exists, that there is only the power of fear, is one of the deepest meanings of the story.
THE INDIFFERENCE OF NATURE
Throughout much of literature the natural world has been portrayed as "mother nature," the protector of man. In Lord of the Flies nature is shown to be indifferent to humanity's existence. When nature creates a situation which helps or hinders mankind, it is an arbitrary happening. Man may be aware of nature, but nature is unconscious and unaware of mankind.
BLINDNESS AND SIGHT
Being blind and having special sight are interwoven themes. One who is blind to his immediate surroundings usually has special understanding of things which others cannot fathom. This person sees more, but he is not seen or recognized by those around him. Such a person is often considered a fool and ridiculed by others.
The story takes place on an island in the ocean, an island the author never actually locates in the real world. He does this so that you can imagine most of the island in your own way. You might even want to draw a map of the island, locating on it all the features listed below (the capitalized words). You will be exploring and getting to know the island in the same way that the boys have to, that is, little by little. If you include each of the sections, you will be able to follow the story more closely. A map will also let you experience how terribly trapped Ralph must have felt when he was being stalked by Jack.
The author tells us that the island is tropical and shaped like a boat. At the low end are the jungle and the orchards, which rise up to the treeless and rocky mountain ridge.
The beach near the warm water lagoon is where Piggy and Ralph first talk and find the conch. This is also where they hold their meetings. The author calls it a "natural platform of fallen trees." Far away is the fruit orchard where the boys can eat all they want and Ralph complains when the boys are "taken short."
Inland from the lagoon is the jungle with pig trails and hanging vines which the "littluns" fear. Here Jack hunts the pigs, and then Ralph, and this is where the beast supposedly lives. The jungle is also Simon's hiding place when he goes to see the candle bushes. In the same area he sees the pig's head that Jack mounted on a stake.
The island has a mountain that Ralph, Simon, and Jack climb, and from which they are able to see the terrain. This is where the boys are supposed to keep a fire going and where the parachutist landed on the rocks.
Finally, there is the castle at the other end of the island, which rises a hundred feet above the sea. This is where the first search for the beast is made. It becomes Jack's headquarters when he declares himself chief, and it is from the castle that Piggy falls to his death on the rocks below.
Golding gives us a very strong sense of place, and the island shapes the story's direction. At the outset the boys view it as a paradise; it is lush and abundant with food. As the fear of the beast grows, it becomes a hell in which fire and fear prevail.
The island setting works as a metaphor for the world. The boys are trapped on the island as we are trapped on this planet. What happens there becomes a commentary on our world. The island is also described as a boat, and the boys feel they are men about to embark on an adventure. When the story closes, a boat has landed on the island. The boys' first adventure is over, but they are about to begin another.
All these comments are made by me (Velissarios Valsamas) who I am just a William Golding's reader and fan and I have no other qualification about literature or criticism. I have include some official critisism in the page, but the most of them are personal and completely unofficial. So, do NOT consider all these reviews as anything else than just my personal thoughts.
Excuse me for any spelling mistake and especially for the wrong way of names writing. Unfortunately, I have no idea how to write the English names which Golding uses because I have his books in Greek edition. I'll be glad if you could help me solve these problems !
The "Lord of the flies" is considering as the greatest novel of William Golding. It is a story of a group of young boys who are the only survivors of an air accident in a small island. The boys are trying to survive alone, without any adult man to help them. They take their surviving as a game and they choose the older boy as a leader. Soon they will separate themselves in two groups because of their differences about the way of playing. The other group, will select another leader and finally the two groups will fight in a not childish way...
The Lord of the Flies, is a great novel in which W.Golding explains the real nature of the human being, which is not as innocent as we think. The young boys, before they have receive the complete procedure of social formation, when they have to live in a world where they make the rules, they become savage and merciless like the animals. These ideas of W.Golding , give a complete explanation to the atrocities of war. War is a "game" which human knows from the begining of his life. War is the game which the human nature never gave up ! This novel has already sold over 10 million copies worldwide.
Personal Note : There is an interesting point about the title of this novel. The "Lord of the Flies" is also a charactirization of an assyrian demon, the "Pazuzu". According to the assyrian mythology, this demon tries to destroy the space of the universe. It's possible for Golding to use this name allegorically (the human nature is the "Lord of the Flies", the Pazuzu, the creature which trying to destroy the space).
Like a cold sweat, a day-mare or going under gas... Prose more tighly packed, more jaggedly concrete, I can't imagine : and the shock ending, which throws a new and doubly alarming retrospective light on the whole book, is technical wizardry of the first order.
Golding's imagination works brilliantly just within the limits of fantastic nightmare... Martin's stuggles in the water, with which the story opens, his slow climb up the rock to a short of plateau on the top, the confused meditations in which his rational minds strives to reduce the horror of his position to tolerable terms : of all this Golding writes with remarkably sustained imaginative intensity.
Sami is a famous and succesful painter who is trying to describe his life and find the reasons which deprived him of the free choice. His narration has no chronological order and it walks through Sami's life, career and romance. Sami was born in a poor neighbourhood and there he meets the love for the first time. Soon, he will become a famous artist and he'll move to London. But the war will change his life (for another time, Golding puts the war in his hero life, as it was put in his life) and it will drive Sami in a German concentration camp. At last, Sami will feel the big shock of his life in an asylum where he finds his first love. Why are we loosing our freedom in choosing in our lives ? If we ever had it...
The priest Joslin believes that God chose him to build a giant spire on the cathedral he works. Without any ground works and against any advice of the architects and the others, Joslin is trying to build the spire. But the shadow of this spire will fall on his life.
"Written with clear simplicity which hides a great power of composition, "The Spire" is an excellent tragedy, based on a subject which Zola tried many times..."
"Excellent written... It's just a wonder."
In this novel, W. Golding describes the lives of five different people. First is Maty who was born in a fire and he becomes seriously deformed in his face. He has no parents and he finds a shelter to the spiritual world. He lives for the good. Then is Sophy. She is beautiful and smart. Soon, she understands her power to assert men and she uses it. She drives herself to the crime, just to prove her independence of feelings and morality. Mr. Pedigree is the most tragic person in the novel. He is a teacher in a school and because of his homosexual needs he losts his job and his pride. His need drives him to humiliation and to social isolation.
Golding has a great imagination, so he convinces even if he is so dark. He believes that imagination can penetrate in this "curtain where all threads are moving", as says the soldier which saves Maty in the beginning of the story. He believes that violence in our century is a revolution against humiliation. Maybe this is what he says when in "Darkness Visible" the truth appears in Sophy's mind : "The road to simplicity walks through the blasphemy, the desecration".
I consider myself lucky because I know Golding the last 20 years. He and some of his best works compose a mystery to me. He didn't want it other way ; me too. What our century needs is mystery.
Even if Golding denys persistently to talk about "Darkness Visible", his position in the whole work is obvious. Because in this book he examines the sections which attract him more : the extreme behaviour for which the human is able, his ability for the good and the wrong, his eternal strange holiness and sin. And behind all these, lies the mystery of the spiritual world which surround us continually, but in his biggest part is closed to us, forgotten or ignored from the most of the people. In these mysteries, Golding penetrates , this darkness tries to light, by choosing two characters who lives mainly in the spiritual level but in completely opposite poles... "Darkness Visible" gives more because it just tries more. An exploration in the most critical desert, where will happen the last confrontation between the right and the wrong, the good and the evil, between the darkness and the light, between the God and the Devil.
"Darkness Visible" can be considered as a book full of hope, which with his ending gives at least the possibility of escape from a world which has the threat of a nuclear bomb, the spiritual disorientation, the continuous noise and the tyranny of words.
The art of Golding is the art of exploring, but not the art which tries to explain. It discovered that the universe is inexplicable and it can't be described completely with words. But words is the only thing that a writer has. The problem of the language and its relationship with the natural and metaphysic world is a matter which always occupies Golding. We could say that art is occupied exactly with this matter. One of the strongest points in his writing is that inside words, he can make us understand that there are areas of being over the limits of language. As Golding say : "The power, the sobriety, the truth of a book can not be found in the fidelity of the attribution of the phenomenal world, but in the fact of how can it stand alone. Consciousness, intuition. We stand in a height - or depth - where the questions can not be answered with words."
...The mystery can not be explained - otherwise it wouldn't be a mystery. So, Golding uses the structure of his books, their shape and their form as the vehicle of the meaning. The reader who meets this structure by reading, forced to recreate and reorganise the text. The complication of the books forces the reader to this action. By living it, he lives the paradox and the mystery as he tries to find an explanation in the facts which the writer narrates. The reader doesn't stay out of the text as an objective observer, but he is pulled into this, he gets complicated and driven, just to end in the conclusion that some things are inexplicable
Golding has a particular part in the modern novel by staying (to say it simple) such obviously "sui generis", a writer original, unique and he made his personal writing school. I don't write like him. But he belongs to a category of writers, he composes a whole category - he's the kind of writers which I'm trying to be. This which I like more in Golding is the different way he manages his subject in every book, without standing at his previous successes at all. Everyone knows that he's a great fabulist, an excellent creative interpreter of the far history (The Inheritors) when he wants it. But he never relied on a granted approach, an already owned power. He was for me something like an ancient menir, a monolith which comes with the prooves that there are and other believes, other religions. His example has helped me - as I believe that has helped other writers too - to stand in storms and swamps. He showed to us how vital is to trust our sense of smell (our imagination), to let it drive us, even in mistakes. To stay ourselves against to conventionalities, fashions, flattering and not criticals, commercial "wisdoms" and other related things. I owe this to him. And now, the half of shame to me and the other to him... Sometime he refered to me by calling me "the young Fowles" -something which had offended me deadly those times. To revenge him, I call him "cher maitre" and I embrace him warmly.
This is the first novel of W.Golding's trilogy. In this trilogy, W.Golding describes the big voyage of a young man from England to Australia. In the first part, Edmound Talbot, a young aristocrat and nephew of a very important man, begins a travel to take a govermental position in the new colony. Ambitious and possesive, he faces a new world in which going to sink into and be incorporated very slowly and tormenting like the sailing of the ship. A young priest who is travelling with Edmount, is going to be the tragic person in this novel.
For Edmound, nothing was more important than his political career which was the reason of his voyage. But all these before he met the Love. His meeting with Love will be stong and fatal, and when he should choose from love and career, he will choose the first.
This is a very strong and unexpected novel. Wilfrent Barkley, a famous novelist, gets very angry of Ric Taker who is trying to be his personal biographer. He is cynical and almost alcoholic, with a dead wedding and many unsatisfied sexual needs but also rich and famous. He is continually avoiding R.Taker until he meets his wife. He falls in love with the young woman and this makes him to make a relationship with the couple.
This is the third and the last part of Golding's trilogy. Edmound's voyage comes to the end. But he faces a great surprice when he learns that his uncle died. This fact will change his life and all his dream will fade away. But his great love will meet him and give him new hopes. All these, before the tragic end.
An old priestess in Delphi, the most ancient oracle in ancient Greece, is trying to make a narration of her life. After a whole life in the mercy of Gods, priests and her parents, she had been a witness of oracle decay and its influence to the people. This small novel is just a design of Golding's book which unfortunately never been finished -cause of Golding's unexpected death. Although, it's a great portrait of a woman's experience.
En prime, voici la superbe chanson d'Iron Maiden (ils ont trouvé un riff qui ressemble, mais ceci n'est peut être qu'une simple impression, au bruit... d'une mouche qui vole! C'est assez hallucinant...) qui m'a fait découvrir ce livre génial (tirée donc de l'album "The X Factor"):
I don't care for this world anymore
I just want to live my own fantasy
Fate as brought us to these shores
What was meant to be is now happening
I've found that I like this living in danger
Living on the edge it makes feel as one
Who cares now what's right or wrong it's reality
Killing so we survive
Wherever we may roam
Wherever we may hide
we've got to get away
I don't want existence to end
We must prepare ourselves for the elements
I just want to feel like we're strong
We don't need a code of morality
I like all the mixed emotion and anger
it brings out the animal
the power you can feel
And feeling so high on this much adrenalin
Excited but scary
to believe what we've become
Saints and sinners
Something within us
We are lord of the flies
Saints and sinners
Something willing us
To be lord of the flies