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Before The Hunger Games there was Lord of the Flies
Lord of the Flies remains as provocative today as when it was first published in 1954, igniting passionate debate with its startling, brutal portrait of human nature. Though critically acclaimed, it was largely ignored upon its initial publication. Yet soon it became a cult favorite among both students and literary critics who compared it to J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye in its influence on modern thought and literature.
William Golding's compelling story about a group of very ordinary small boys marooned on a coral island has become a modern classic. At first it seems as though it is all going to be great fun; but the fun before long becomes furious and life on the island turns into a nightmare of panic and death. As ordinary standards of behaviour collapse, the whole world the boys know collapses with them—the world of cricket and homework and adventure stories—and another world is revealed beneath, primitive and terrible.Labeled a parable, an allegory, a myth, a morality tale, a parody, a political treatise, even a vision of the apocalypse, Lord of the Flies has established itself as a true classic.
"Lord of the Flies is one of my favorite books. That was a big influence on me as a teenager, I still read it every couple of years."
—Suzanne Collins, author of The Hunger Games
"As exciting, relevant, and thought-provoking now as it was when Golding published it in 1954."
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William Golding's classic tale about a group of English schoolboys who are plane-wrecked on a deserted island is just as chilling and relevant today as when it was first published in 1954. At first, the stranded boys cooperate, attempting to gather food, make shelters, and maintain signal fires. Overseeing their efforts are Ralph, "the boy with fair hair," and Piggy, Ralph's chubby, wisdom-dispensing sidekick whose thick spectacles come in handy for lighting fires. Although Ralph tries to impose order and delegate responsibility, there are many in their number who would rather swim, play, or hunt the island's wild pig population. Soon Ralph's rules are being ignored or challenged outright. His fiercest antagonist is Jack, the redheaded leader of the pig hunters, who manages to lure away many of the boys to join his band of painted savages. The situation deteriorates as the trappings of civilization continue to fall away, until Ralph discovers that instead of being hunters, he and Piggy have become the hunted: "He forgot his words, his hunger and thirst, and became fear; hopeless fear on flying feet." Golding's gripping novel explores the boundary between human reason and animal instinct, all on the brutal playing field of adolescent competition. --Jennifer HubertFrom the Inside Flap:
Few works in literature have received as much popular and critical attention as Nobel Laureate William Golding's Lord of the Flies. Since its publication in 1954, it has amassed a cult following, and has significantly contributed to our dystopian vision of the post-war era. When responding to the novel's dazzling power of intellectual insight, scholars and critics often invoke the works of Shakespeare, Freud, Rousseau, Sartre, Orwell, and Conrad.
Golding's aim to "trace the defect of society back to the defect of human nature" is elegantly pursued in this gripping adventure tale about a group of British schoolboys marooned on a tropical island. Alone in a world of uncharted possibilities, devoid of adult supervision or rules, the boys attempt to forge their own society, failing, however, in the face of terror, sin, and evil. Part parable, allegory, myth, parody, political treatise, and apocalyptic vision, Lord of the Flies is perhaps the most memorable tale about "the end of innocence, the darkness of man's heart".
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