Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Why Lord of the Flies is the perfect Christmas gift for 2016 ...

It’s the story of a society in which democracy descends into tribalism and tyranny. One of a civilisation built by those committed to the rule of law who turn on each other, scapegoating the marginalised and powerless. Ultimately, it’s a reminder of a human barbarism lying just beneath the fragile veneer of decency.

Sound familiar? That’s right: it’s the plot of Lord of the Flies, a novel about a group of English boys who survive a plane crash and are marooned on an island in the South Pacific. After a short period of harmony, a power struggle between the two leaders, Ralph and Jack, causes the group to split. Jack wins out by promising to hunt and kill a common enemy – the strange phantom living in the jungle known only as the Beast. It’s a successful campaign of fear and division.

Lord of the Flies was first published in 1954, largely in response to the rise of Nazism and the horrors of World War II. And yet, in many ways, it speaks directly to the world of 2016, where austerity, the refugee crisis, Brexit and the rise of Donald Trump have emboldened nationalist fervour and stoked societal fragmentation.

The racialised language of tribal “savagery” in the novel quite rightly makes contemporary readers bristle. It marks author William Golding’s failure to move beyond a fundamentally eurocentric and colonialist view of the world. But ultimately, the book’s message is that “savagery” is universal. It is not racially or nationally defined. It’s a moral that encourages us to reflect on just how far-right extremism has crept back into mainstream politics throughout Europe and America. Full story...

No comments:

Post a Comment