William Golding’s book “Lord of the Flies” is one of those books that has taunted me for years from its place on my bookcase.
I’ve owned a copy of it for a long time, and when it would catch my eye from its place on the shelf, it always seemed to say “What’s the matter, bookworm? You ever going to get around to reading me?”
I’m not sure what prompted me to pick it up last week, but I finally finished reading it a couple of days ago. As expected, it was extremely good and left me regretting that I’d waited so long to experience this classic.
For those of you unfamiliar with the book, it was first released in September 1954, and is the story of a small group of young British boys who survive an plane crash on a deserted island in the Pacific. At first, they elect a leader, but eventually split into two rival groups. The story ends as the stronger of the two groups sets fire to the small island in an effort to track down their former elected leader.
This book surprised me in many ways. First, I was very surprised by the strong supernatural and science fiction-esque elements to the story. The book’s title is a reference to the Greek word for Satan, and, in a way, the devil (or an imagined version of him) is one of the story’s central characters. The story also is thought to take place during a fictionalized World War III.
Secondly, I was very surprised by the many similarities between this book and the television series, “LOST.” I was a big fan of the show and like to think that I am moderatly well versed in the show’s mythos. Here are a few similarities between “LOST” and “Lord of the Flies” that I happened to catch.
- The book and the show center on a group of people who have survived a plane crash and are now marooned on an island in the Pacific.
- The island is inhabited by wild pigs in both the book and the show. Almost immediately, a single character emerges as a hunter (Jack in the book, John Locke on the show) and provides everyone else with meat.
- “Jack” is the name of one of the dominant characters in the book and on the show. In the book, Jack Merridew is one of the older boys and the first to kill a wild boar. On the show, Jack Shepard was a medical doctor who emerged as the show’s central character.
- In the book, after the boys split into two rival groups, Ralph, who is the book’s dominant character, refers to the other group as “The Others.” On the TV show, “The Others” is the name for the mysterious people who were already living on the island prior to the crash that started the series.
- In the book, the boys are scared of some unseen monster that they describe as being some sort of snake-like being. On the show, a giant, snake-like smoke monster inhabits the island and is one of the show’s central mysteries.
Those were just a few of the similarities that jumped right out at me on a first reading. Other fans of “LOST,” who have read “Lord of the Flies,” probably saw others.