The Faber Book Club
Our online book club is run by Faber Members but open to all. Each month Faber staff from across the company select key works from current releases to classic texts. We release a monthly set of suggested questions around titles selected as well as holding events three times a year for further discussion.
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Questions by Dr Nicola Presley
William Golding’s Lord of the Flies is a dystopian classic: ‘exciting, relevant and thought-provoking’ (Stephen King).
When a group of schoolboys are stranded on a desert island, what could go wrong?
‘One of my favourite books – I read it every couple of years.’ (Suzanne Collins, author of The Hunger Games)
A plane crashes on a desert island. The only survivors are a group of schoolboys. By day, they discover fantastic wildlife and dazzling beaches, learning to survive; at night, they are haunted by nightmares of a primitive beast. Orphaned by a society in the throes of a nuclear war, it isn’t long before their innocent childhood games devolve into a savage, murderous hunt . . .
Suggested Questions on Lord of the Flies:
- Lord of the Flies is alert to environmental themes through the threat of global destruction from nuclear war. How else does Golding explore the themes of environmental crisis?
- Is Simon radically different from the other boys? Does he really talk to the Lord of the Flies?
- In the end most of the boys are taken off the island by the naval officer and his men. Does this look like a rescue to you? Are they returning to civilisation and the rule of law? What do you think the future would have held for these boys after their experiences on the island?
- The boys attempt to establish a reasonable society based on voting and the right to speech (via the conch), but it degenerates into barbarism. Was this inevitable? To what extent do you think the novel’s exploration of democratic breakdown is relevant today?
- What do the boys see clearly? What do they miss? Why?
- Ralph says about the island: ‘This belongs to us.’ Is he right?
- Golding famously said that ‘[women] are far superior to men’. Would the events on the island have been the same if a group of girls had been stranded, in your view?