Why should you read “Lord of the Flies” by William Golding? - Jill Dash
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In 1963, filmmaker Peter Brook adapted Golding’s first novel into a feature-length film. He filmed in Puerto Rico, on the mainland as well as a small island called Vieques. Hiring amateur actors, Brook and his crew housed the boys in former US Navy quarters and finished filming within three months, then spent a year editing. The film is quite true to the original, with some scenes improvised or filmed with very little direction. Brook recalls that the offscreen dynamics between the actors sometimes eerily paralleled those of the characters in the story, noting that the boy who played Piggy was told that one particular scene would be his last. Further, Brook posits that “[Golding’s] action takes about three months. I believe that if the cork of continued adult presence were removed from the bottle, complete catastrophe could occur within one long weekend.” Read more about the making of the film here (be warned of spoilers).
Golding’s views were shaped by his own experiences, and it is understandable that he might take a dismal view of humanity after witnessing the horror of war. We can choose to agree with Golding that “man produces evil as a bee produces honey,” or follow Anne Frank’s lead and believe that “people are truly good at heart.” The 21st century has seen mass shootings, natural disasters, terrorist attacks, and the escalation of foreign conflicts. Examples of the worst of humanity, these tragedies have also brought out the very best in people. 2017 saw an increase in charitable giving, to more than $390 Billion. Volunteers from around the world flocked to cities plagued by natural disasters, and social media campaigns have raised awareness of global issues with effective hashtags. After a hate-motivated shooting at a Christchurch, NZ mosque in early 2019, members of the community offered to guard the building at the next week’s prayers but were instead invited to join the service. When a tornado leveled parts of Kansas in 2019, a group of civilians stepped in as the “Cajun Navy” to help lead recovery efforts. These are just a few examples of many, illustrating that while people can be cruel and inhumane, there is great capacity for good in the world, as well. Golding’s novel can serve as a cautionary story, reminding us that we can choose how we respond when people showcase the worst of themselves.
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