A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Lord of the Flies has been described as dark, brutal, pessimistic, and tragic. Yet it deals with a fundamental issue of humanity: Are people naturally prone to evil? This and other issues in this novel would be invaluable for parent-child discussion, on both theological and humanist levels.
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What's the story?
Marooned on a tropical island, a group of British schoolboys are left to fend for themselves, unsupervised by any adults. At first, the boys enjoy their freedom, playing and exploring the island, but soon the group splits into two factions -- those who attempt to preserve the discipline and order they had learned from society, and those who choose to give in to every instinct and impulse, no matter how barbaric.
Is it any good?
Lord of the Flies has been a perennial favorite since its first publication in 1954, and this excellent novel is a deserved staple of school reading lists. Golding keeps his prose unadorned and straightforward, and the result is a page-turning entertainment, as well as a highly thought-provoking work of literature.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about whether individuals are born "good" or "evil" -- is our behavior always the result of choice?
How is it that good people are capable of bad behavior, and vice versa? How do you think you might behave under the circumstances of the novel?
Is it always best to sacrifice your own wants and needs for the common good of a community?
What might some of the prominent elements of the story -- the conch, Piggy’s glasses, the sow’s head, the island’s "beast" -- symbolize?
Lord of the Flies is considered a classic and is often required reading in school. Why do you think that is?
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