Lord of the Flies by William Golding
I read this book when I was in 9th grade, but it was an assigned reading. This means that I only read it because I had to, and I did not really get into it. I decided since I had to read an adventure (and fill a "classic" requirement) that I would re-read it. It's an amazing story of struggle in the wilderness and how humans react in desperation to maintain their own lives.
A group of schoolboys are on a plane, being evacuated from their home during a war. Their plane is shot down over a deserted island. Not fully knowing what to do, a couple of boys, Ralph and Piggy, grab a nearby conch shell to use as a horn to gather everyone from the plane who is still alive. After discussing what to do, they vote that Ralph should be their leader on the island until they are rescued. Another boy, Jack, is assigned to hunting for food. After exploring the island for a bit, Ralph decides they should light a fire to signal passing ships or planes for help. They use Piggy's glasses and the sun to heat up some dead wood. They are successful in starting a fire, but the fire soon gets out of control and engulfs the forest, as well as a young classmate.
The group of boys begin to enjoy life on their own- no grownups, no school, no responsibilities, just swimming and playing. However, Ralph sticks to his leader duties, and Jack becomes more and more occupied with hunting. They lose their chance of getting help after a ship passes by the island, and the fire is burned out due to the boys not paying attention. Tension begins to get stronger between Ralph and Jack, because Ralph believes Jack is not keeping up with his responsibilities. Many of the young boys are becoming increasingly afraid, believing there is a sea monster that will kill them all. Soon, the entire group of boys start believing there is a monster among them, so they organize a hunt.
During the hunt, Jack and Ralph begin to argue more, and many of the boys take Jack's side, leaving Ralph to fend for himself. Jack and his hunters successfully kill a pig, and violently ritualize their kill. One boy, Simon, has a vision while looking at the fly-covered head of the killed pig. During his vision, the pig head, which Simon believes is the Lord of the Flies, tells him no one will ever escape. Simon runs to the other boys to tell them what he has seen, but the other boys only see a shadow. Acting out of fear and impulse, the boys attack Simon, not knowing who he was, and kill him.
Piggy is also killed during an argument when one of Jack's followers pushes a boulder down a mountain. Piggy is crushed, but Ralph barely escapes. Ralph hides in the forest, knowing full well that if he encounters any of the other boys, he will be killed. The other boys light the forest on fire in hopes of pushing Ralph out. They succeed, but when Ralph runs out of the forest, he sees a naval officer standing on the beach. The boys will be rescued, and Ralph cries out of exhaustion, relief, and confusion, and the other boys follow suit.
I believe there was a movie made that was based on this book, and I would like to watch it to see how the movie portrays the detail that was in the book. I think this is a lasting story, since it shows the reader the lengths people will go to in order to survive. It's kind of like fight or flight... these boys decided to fight... for rescue, for survival, for each other. It also shows the reader how quickly people can turn against each other when faced with such struggle.