Critical Insights: Lord of the Flies Review

“The Lord of the Flies takes a compelling look at a number of unsettling ideas, including the human capacity for evil and the shocking disruption of innocence, among others. This volume in the Critical Insights series offers a survey of past popular criticism of the novel while introducing new and innovative explorations. In addition, the volume connects the experiences within Lord of the Flies to those of its author, William Golding, and provides other contextual material which helps explain the novel’s tremendous literary impact.

Opening chapters offer a brief biography of Golding alongside the establishment of the novel’s most apparent element of violence as it moves between fantasy and hard reality. The volume then moves into the Critical Contexts section, with essays discussing foundational concepts around the novel, primarily the effects of World War II and character maturity, and also establishing the need for multiple points-of-view (“The Conclusion of Lord of the Flies: Multiple Critical Perspectives” by Robert C. Evans).

The larger section of the book—Critical Readings—includes three chapters devoted to surveying the range of Lord of the Flies criticism, encompassing the years 1954 to 2010. Other essays here draw connections between the novel and Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings (also published in 1954), look at the novel’s treatment of obesity, discuss film adaptations, and more. One essay, Joan-Mari Barendse’s “William Golding’s Lord of the Flies: A Glimmer of Hope in this Dystopia?” examines the novel’s few suggestions of salvation as epitomized by a pair of glasses and a conch shell.

Resources include a chronology of William Golding’s life and works, a list of the author’s complete works, which include poetry, drama, nonfiction, and more, and a bibliography.”
-ARBA, 2018