Why The Novel “Lord of the Flies” should be taught in college
Civilization has long been under the control of rules and regulations that keep us civil and respectful toward one another. This is guided by laws and rules that were set in place to do exactly that keep people all civilized. When we live by these laws every day it is easy to forget that this is not our nature. Most people are not naturally civilized and you only truly see their colors when they are provoked. The “lord of the flies” is a fictional novel by author William Golding that is based in the middle of a war. It is centralized around a group of young boys who were evacuated and had their plane shot down to end up stranded on an island with no supervision or adults. They start off acting civilized and creating rules as well as electing a leader. As time goes on chaos begins to take over as the boys develop almost animalistic instincts to survive and forget there civilized teachings altogether. This unruliness goes so far that some boys even end up trying to survive when faced with attacks from other boys. The book really starts to highlight what might possibly happen if young people were cut off from the rest of civilization and allowed to make choices on their own when faced with survival. It breaks down the concept that we are all civilized and puts the thought that we might have a more frightening nature that comes naturally to us if we were faced with the opportunity to live outside the norm and rules that govern us leading us into a realistic depiction of what life could have easily been or could continue to be in the future if we lost the system that keeps us from living with no rules expectations or laws. It ventures to make people think that without this system every person’s safety would be at risk.
Why this novel should be read in College
This novel is a classic piece of literature that has many different uses on the college level and is enjoyable by any reader. This doesn’t even start to embark on the journey you begin when you take a closer look at the book. There are hidden meanings in the text that make the work complex and this could be a hard thing to spot to the untrained eye e.g. “Quote: Within the diamond haze of the beach something dark was fumbling alongThen the creature stepped from the mirage on to clear sand, and they saw that the darkness was not all shadow but mostly clothing (19).Analysis: The arrival of Jack Merridew and his militant choir is described as the arrival of a beast or creature, foreshadowing Jack's transformation from despotic choir leader to pig hunter to murderous dictator later in the novel” (www.brighthubeducation.com). This interpretation of the book really highlight the fact that this novel is a much deeper and more difficult to truly understand than you would think just trying to read straight through it. If the college reader was given a specific assignment to find the hidden meaning behind some of the statements used by the author in the piece it would require the reader to take a more in depth look at the literature and look at how words can be used to describe internal fears and emotions by simply describing a character introduction. It forces the reader to think opening up the possibility that this novel may be about something more than just some boys stranded on an island and more a look at what could happen to anyone if society began to break down and we didn’t follow usual rules and standards. We could end up facing complete anarchy and chaos in or system leaving no room for compassion for each other and only a struggle for survival of the fittest.
The novel “The Lord of the Flies” has endured scrutiny when it comes to deciding if it should be taught in schools. In particular arguments include that it is not complex enough for the readers and there is more suitable books. Another strong argument is that the book is banned because it exploits human nature by insinuating one would put there self before the common good. One obvious explanation for this book not being allowed is its use of vulgar language and violence, religion among many other reasons but let’s just tackle these ones. When discussing the complexity of the book we have to look at how it is decided that a book is complex enough. There is a system called Lexile that determines this by scoring if the book offers enough skill for its readers that are built through use of things like complex vocabulary. This makes critics say this book isn’t difficult enough for college level but I completely disagree as this book is clearly founded on complexity for anyone that actually sat down and read it. One article from a blog inspired by this system puts it best saying “It has archaic language, it’s full of allusions to different worlds, and they use British English” (www.blogs.kqed.org).
Next let’s talk about how this book is banned because of the exploitive nature, religious insinuations, vulgar language and violence. All I really have to say is we are talking about college students who should be required to look unbiased at a piece of literature and collectively form discussions that pertain to the complexity of this particular as well as any piece without taking offense to certain details or things of suggestive nature. These are young adults and while not every person is going to appreciate this novel in its entirety it is really hard to overlook the inspiring author who put so many levels of interpretation into the book discreetly enough that it would require an advanced reader to even pick up on this and really understand it. With all of that being stated it really shows that this is a book that should not be banned but a necessary read in college courses. It takes an exceptional eye to spot the hidden agendas including but not limited to the main theme of the book which is that people would break down if they were not held to standards in society.
Religion is a difficult and probably the most complex argument involved in reasons why this book is not allowed. People like to argue that it can be offensive. It could be considered offensive to both the religion discussed in the book as well as offensive to people who do not agree with religion or have a different religion. The problem with people’s arguments against the religious inclinations in the book is that this novel does not specifically focus on religion. It does make an underlying suggestion that these boys come from a religious background, however this is just to show that this breakdown of the social structure discussed in the book is possible with even the most religious or outstanding person given the wrong situation. The book does not go into detail about religion nor does it push any religious view on the readers, it only uses religion to prove a point that no person no matter how civilized is above becoming brutally selfish in a situation where they feel like if they do not they will not survive.
All of the above arguments are founded and deserve validation they are after all supported with facts that make it easier to push this book away from college students than give it a chance. The depressing part is that by doing this you are actually depriving young readers a chance to see the world in a different light. It takes the reader outside of their comfort zone and forces them to face the harsh reality that our society is filled with imperfections and opportunities for even the most upright person to falter and let a true natural and unaccepted part of their personality take over so they can assure their own genes will continue to thrive in the world. When we address the possibility that there is an almost animal instinct inside of us that we may not have control over we are forced to face that. Furthermore although there points are good ones and valid so are the counter points. It is a complex read, It does push the students, It gives teachers a wide range of curriculum to discuss and dig into and we are all adults in college making any offensiveness in the book something that should be able to be looked over. The focus should be on finding the true meaning to the book or what you take away from it when you read it and being able to include that in a productive discussion that engages the students and pushes their brains to think deeper.
“The lord of the Flies” was an intense read and although I have read it five times I continue to find new hidden and complex theories built into the book. I really think it should be considered to discuss the reading even before hand bringing up the complexity so the reader has the opportunity to think deeper while reading the book. When you read it the first time you don’t always take away from the book what the author intended when he wrote it. When you know what you are looking for you can delve deeper into the book really picking up on hidden agendas and understanding what the idea of the beast is as well as what this specific piece of the novel means to all of the characters. Once again we can look at how this novel can have an astounding effect on the reader when taken apart and really dissected so that you can understand the deeper intentions the author wove into this novel. The only reason that it is not at the top of the list according to most people who are for it is, that people don’t have the guts to face the possibility that this novel is a fiction but has a lot of basis in reality. It hits much too close to home and a lot of people are not willing to look at the world in such a negative way.
- Golding, William. "Lord of the Flies." SparkNotes. SparkNotes, 05 Oct. 2012. Web. 24
- Golding, William. Lord of the Flies. New York: Coward-McCann, 1962. Print.
- Korbey, Holley. "How Does 'Lord of the Flies' Fit Into Common Core." KQED. Holey Korbey, 20 Nov. 2013. Web. 25 Nov. 2014.
- Lorcher, Trent. "Bright Hub Education." Bright Hub Education. Bright Hub, 13 Oct. 2013. Web. 26 Nov. 2014. <http://www.brighthubeducation.com/>.