My thoughts soon turn to Lord of the Flies, by William Golding, and the 1963 film that so traumatized us in high school.
During the bombing of England, schoolboys were evacuated. Their plane is shot down and the boys find themselves on an island.
In the beginning, they try to organize themselves and light a fire to signal adults who will surely be looking for them. They vote Ralph to be their leader, as Ralph has the conch.
Order quickly breaks down though and the fire goes out. A breakaway sect forms and most of the boys follow Jack, and the gang of hunters.
By the time the adults do show up, Simon, mistaken for "the beast," has been savagely attacked and killed; Piggy has been crushed to death by a boulder; and Ralph is running for his life.
Why can't they all just get along? There's an island with enough food for all. It's beautiful and the weather is great.
What happens is this: the bullies take over the island.
Why do they make us read Lord of the Flies in high school? They want us to remember this:
- You better listen to your parents and teachers. If there were no adults the bullies will steal your glasses and eventually kill you.
- Without adults, might is stronger than right.
- Bullies will wreck every paradise (paradise = life itself). They don't need a reason and even if you try to do the right thing, it won't help.
Perhaps, finally, we are made to read it to invoke us to find an inner adult and give that adult a moral compass to help us find the way.
Do they still teach Lord of the Flies?
What would you do if there were no adults?