Lord of the Flies
Lord of the Flies is an exceptional novel which has had several different influencing factors on current culture. The novel forces the reader to take a closer look into the human culture, where all social boundaries and rules have been removed. What story does this novel have to tell, and how has it affected modern culture?
Lord of the Flies was published in 1954 (William Golding Limited, 2002). Since its publication it has had several major influences on current culture. Not only has Lord of the Flies become a standard in education, but it has also inspired two films, and has been translated into many different languages (Lambert, 1993).
Golding won the Nobel Prize award for his literature in 1983, after his first novel, Lord of the Flies, was published, in 1954. The book that was originally rejected 21 times, ended up inspiring two films, and was translated into 26 different languages. Lord of the Flies not only sold millions of copies, but it also became a standard in both high school, and college, English classes. Lord of the Flies was said to have become a world classic in English literature (Lambert, 1993).
William Golding never considered his book, Lord of the Flies, to be of much importance. In fact, 15 years after the book had been published, he stated to one of his friends, that he resented writing the novel. Golding felt that his entire reputation was based off the success of Lord of the Flies, which he considered to be a very minor book. Even though the book was a classic in English literature, Golding considered the book to be nothing more than “a joke” (Boyd, 2010).
Golding also stated that the profits he had earned from the novel was “Monopoly money” (Boyd, 2010) as he did not feel like he actually earned the money. Sales of the Lord of the Flies had reached over seven million dollars in the United States, by 1980 (Boyd, 2010).
It is stated that Golding is a perfect example that you do not need to be young to make a name for yourself. After Lord of the Flies was published, Golding became extraordinarily successful, and popular. That success never dwindled. Several more books were immediately published following the success of Lord of the Flies. Even though none of these books ever matched the sales of Lord of the Flies (Boyd, 2010), Golding was still set for life as the sales of Lord of the Flies were “rock-solid” (Boyd, 2010) and never seemed to end (Boyd, 2010).
The influences that Lord of the Flies has made within literature, movies, and even a TV series, is overwhelming. The novel has become so revered, that one might consider it to be one of the most well-known novels in history. Several Web sites have been designed in honor, and support, of Lord of the Flies, as well as the primary motion picture1. These Web sites contain information about the author, different editions of the book, and the motion picture productions.
Thus far, Lord of the Flies has inspired a book be written about William Golding, which tells a secretive story about his life. This book was written based off new materials, most of which have never been made public knowledge prior to the book’s printing. The book was assembled using many hundreds of letters, as well as unpublished works, and Golding’s own personal journals. The book is designed to draw a portrait of the man who wrote Lord of the Flies (William Golding Inc., 2012). The book not only describes Golding as a war-hero, but also as a reclusive-depressive-alcoholic, who has many fears and phobias (William Golding Inc., 2012).
A special edition of Lord of the Flies was printed in 1962. This novel placed both Golding, and Lord of the Flies, deep into the history of world literature (William Golding Inc., 2012). The book covers the influences on Golding’s imaginative style of writing, as well as his friends, and other books, and poems, he has read (William Golding Inc., 2012).
Lord of the Flies not only sold millions of copies, but it was translated into 26 different languages, and became a standard in schools. Lord of the Flies appears on the reading lists of both high schools and colleges (Lambert, 1993). Many students have had experience with the novel by the time they have graduated high school. It is not easy to find someone who has not at least heard of Lord of the Flies.
Motion Picture Influences
A black and white film of Lord of the Flies was produced in 1961, by Peter Brook. The film has received a lot of praise over the years. Some critics believe that the film is better because it was shot in black and white. They feel that the black and white images add some depth, and weight, to the “chilling story” (Lord of the Flies Company, 1963). The full-length movie that was released in 1963 can be viewed for free, via the Internet2. The 1963 motion picture version of the Lord of the Flies is said to be better than the book itself (Lord of the Flies Company, 1963). Rarely does it happen that readers of a book consider the movie to be better. This goes to show the dedication put into the production of the motion picture.
The motion picture then spawned the creation of a Web site organization that is dedicated to honoring the actors, and other crew members, that were involved in the production of the Lord of the Flies film3. The Web site contains many biographies, and obituaries, of the people involved in the production. The Web site also contains information about children that committed suicide after being teased, and tormented, during their lifetime. These are great examples of what can happen to a child treated in the manner that Piggy was treated during the Lord of the Flies. It would seem Lord of the Flies has had a strong impact on the way people view the activities, and social behavior, of other humans.
The Lord of the Flies is also said to have had some influence on the hit television series Lost. It is stated, that while the television series is not a copy, of the Lord of the Flies, by any means, it still could not have existed without the influences of the novel (Willard, 2007).
Lord of the Flies is a perfect example of how a novel can have major influences on social culture. A simple story starts with the author’s imagination, even if it is nothing more than a joke to the author who wrote it. Golding had a story to tell, and that story turned out to be one of the most honored novels in literary history. The novel has spread all across the globe and has inspired many to take a better look at our civilization, and, at our children.
1Web sites: http://lordoftheflies.org/, http://www.william-golding.co.uk/, http://lordofthefliescover.com/
2Lord of the Flies Movie: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TxYrfB3O7Vg
Adam, W. (2007, June 1). TV’s Lost is Indebted to William Golding’s Lord of the Flies. Retrieved from Yahoo! Voices: http://voices.yahoo.com/tvs-lost-indebted-william-goldings-lord-the-370158.html
Boyd, W. (2010, July 16). Man as an Island. Retrieved from The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/18/books/review/Boyd-t.html?_r=1
Golding, W. (1962). Lord of the Flies. New York: Coward-McCann, Inc.
Lambert, B. (1993, June 20). On This Day. Retrieved from The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/learning/general/onthisday/bday/0919.html
Lord of the Flies Company. (1963). Lord of the Flies Home Page. Retrieved from Lord of the Flies: http://lordoftheflies.org/
Lord of the Flies Movie. (2011, July 6). Lord of the Flies 1963. Retrieved from YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TxYrfB3O7Vg
William Golding Inc. (2012). Influences. Retrieved from William Golding: http://www.william-golding.co.uk/influences.aspx
William Golding Limited. (2002). Retrieved from William Golding: http://www.william-golding.co.uk/media/22919/p_biog.pdf