30 Day Book Challenge – Day 29

Today’s prompt: A book everyone hated but you liked

It was brutal, but it was a true portrayal of humanity, especially the Hobbesian notion that man’s state of nature is to go to war. I had to read The Lord of the Flies for my freshman English class and it changed a lot of my naive thoughts about human relationships. When people are put into a stressful situation, they are more likely to split into groups and fight each other than they are to reach peaceful agreements.

Since the boys in the book were pretty far removed from their native England, they had none of the comforts of home: no parents to care for them or cook for them, no school to provide order, and no way of knowing what lurked on that island. That aspect of the book really made me think, What would my friends and I do in a situation like that? The poetic language and graphic descriptions of violence attracted me to the book as well, and I was most able to relate to the character Piggy. I actually cried when we reached the end of the book in class… and it’s not often that I cry over a book.

Nobody in my class really cared for the book because of its brutality and because the lessons it teaches are difficult to stomach, especially if you’re 14 years old. I think I was the only one who really enjoyed it… and I enjoyed it so much, I read it again the next year.

5 thoughts on “30 Day Book Challenge – Day 29

  1. I’m with the rest of your class.
    I hated it.
    With a passion.
    My least favorite book in HS.
    It created images in my mind that still haunt me.

    And I’m not sure that it is a true portrayal of humanity.

    Recent evidence suggests that our true nature is to nurture and cooperate with one another ~ o ur mirror neurons encourage us to be kind and compassionate.

    With the discovery of mirror neurons by Italian neuroscientist Giaccomo Rizzolatti in the 1990s, we now have physiological proof of why — and how — our species became hard-wired for goodness.

    Mirror neurons are miraculous cells in the brain whose sole purpose is to harmonize us with our environments. By reflecting the outside world inward, we actually become each other — a little bit; neurologically changed by what is happening around us.

    Mirror neurons are the reason that we have empathy and can feel each other’s pain. It is because of mirror neurons that you blush when you see someone else humiliated, flinch when someone else is struck, and can’t resist the urge to laugh when seeing a group struck with the giggles. (Indeed, people who test for “contagious yawning” tend to be more empathic.) These tiny mirrors are the key to most things noble and good inside us.

    Why We Don’t Need God To Be Good:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mark-matousek/you-dont-need-god-to-be-g_b_854870.html?ref=fb&src=sp

    We learn what we see.

    What would the boys on the island have been like if they had been raised FROM BIRTH on a deserted island? Without the early influence of society?

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    1. If they had been raised on the island from birth, that would have been an entirely different story. Perhaps they would have been a lot more cooperative. I think part of the reason they turned vicious was because of the strangeness of the situation – and perhaps freedom from the constraints of adults and society.

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  2. I think they “knew” from the socialization they had received from adults that society (as we know it) has a pecking order . . . a hierarchy of powerful to powerless.

    They set out to emulate that structure.

    If they’d been raised in a commune or a communal society, they would have seen a different image of “human nature” in the adults they learned from. Perhaps, a more cooperative (less vicious) band of boys would have been the result.

    That’s one of the things that bugged me about the book ~ our teacher felt that it revealed who we are at the core. I disagree. It’s who we are based on the socialization that we’ve received . . . but not necessarily who we would be if we had “better role models” to emulate.

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    1. I think human nature is a mix of things: genetics, the way we’re raised, and our animal instincts. I still believe that the majority of people, if placed in a situation like that, would turn to their animal instincts to survive and would become savage.

      I read another book series similar to Lord of the Flies (the Gone series by Michael Grant), in which kids under age 14 are alone in an odd new world without any adults at all. Some of them turned savage, but others kept their civilized personalities and tried to make the best out of the situation.

      Age could be a factor as well. What if it had been adults stranded on the island in LotF? Something to ponder…

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