Introducing the April selection for Chloe's Book Club!
This April, Chloe’s Book Club is throwing it back with a complete classic—Lord of the Flies, William Golding's best-selling look at human nature first released in 1954. It's raw, it's real and it's *extremely* relevant today. To get 15% off your copy, head over to Barnes & Noble and use the code chloereads at checkout (offer available through through April 30, 2018).
If you're just getting acquainted with Chloe's Book Club, hi! We're a new community for book lovers from Chloe Lukasiak and Girls’ Life magazine. Each month we’re reading, discussing and obsessing over a new book; so if you haven’t signed up already, be sure to CLICK THIS LINK and officially join the club. (We’ll email you with Chloe’s Book Club updates, reading guides, special contests and giveaways, event invitations and more.)
Here's a quick guide to everything you'll find inside this post (and beyond). Just remember, *major spoilers* are ahead (so look for the spoiler ratings before you read!).
LORD OF THE FLIES — THE BOOK CLUB AT-A-GLANCE
+ The Recap
+ Chloe's Commentary
+ Chloe's Discussion Questions
+ The Giveaway
+ Details on how to participate
+ Buy the book — and get 15% off with our B&N discount code!
Ready to get started? Read on...
Spoiler level: Moderate
We’ve all heard the word “dystopian” before. You probably first encountered it when it was applied to some of your favorite book series such as The Hunger Games, Divergent and Red Queen. But before Katniss Everdeen was living in squalor in Faction 12 or Tris Prior was parentless and rebelling against the government, Ralph and Jack and Simon and Piggy were coping with the chaos of their own dystopian downfall in Lord of the Flies, a dark and deeply allegorical tale about a group of tween and teen boys who become marooned on a desert island while fleeing war-torn Britain during World War II.
The book, which was first published in 1954, is a high school English class favorite—and for good reason. It’s an intensely human story with innumerable metaphors, and contains frighteningly relatable characters. In it, we meet a slew of young boys, including 12-year-old Ralph, the group’s elected leader, as well as Jack, an older boy who’s been put in charge of hunting and gathering.
At first, the boys revel in the lack of parental supervision. Kicking it on a desert island with your friends sounds relaxing, right? Well, no. Not really. With no shelter, no certain source of sustenance and no sign of help or life—aside from what they believe to be a horribly scary beast lurking in the shadows of the forest, or even the sea—some start to realize that things could get very bad, very quickly.
And they’re not wrong.
It’s not long before facades fade, true colors begin to show through—and power struggles and savagery ensue. Frustrated with Ralph’s leadership, Jack insists that he be impeached. At first, Piggy and most of the group stand by Ralph’s side. But soon enough, some of Ralph’s once-faithful allies realign themselves with Jack, who’s become violent and irrational—and he’s not the only one. Later, in the midst of an out-of-control feast c/o Jack, the usually upstanding Ralph and Piggy contribute to the demise of one of their own.
So where exactly does the title come from?
Late one night, another one of the stranded boys, Simon, stumbles upon the fly-covered head of a pig that's been speared atop a stake and stuck into the ground. He envisions the pig—which he believes is the beast that's been stalking the boys—is talking to him, and decides that the voice belongs to the “Lord of the Flies.”
Through this hallucinogenic encounter, Simon realizes something significant: that the boys’ barbaric behavior is simply part of who we are as people. It's inevitable. The Lord of the Flies—the beast—becomes a metaphor for the dark instinctual desires and actions that exist within us all.
When all is said and done, we recognize, even still, that the actions of these boys stem from somewhere else, too: fear. And that vulnerability is something that despite our circumstances—no matter if we’re stranded on a deserted tropical island or sitting safely at home—we can all relate to.
Spoiler level: High
I feel like most people will be surprised to find that I love this book. It doesn’t seem like a very “Chloe” book, right?
Even though the story focuses in on one group of teen boys during a very different time than 2018, the parallels between Lord of the Flies and modern life absolutely floored me the first time I read it a few years ago—and even still today.
To me, the deserted island itself was very reminiscent of social media. I know that seems weird, but stay with me here. The boys run free—savagely, at times—and all of their actions are completely unregulated. There are no parents, no teachers—nothing.
When you think about it, Twitter replies and Instagram comments work the same way. People can post whatever they want with virtually no consequences; they can even do it completely anonymously. As a result, people say things online that they would never say in real life—and they do it en masse.
It all starts with a someone hurling a single stone—aka sending a single tweet—and suddenly, takedown tweets are being fired off furiously by all of that bully's followers. (How often have you seen #soandsoisoverparty trending worlwide??) This mob mentality is what caused conflict between Ralph and Jack, and it’s even what lead to the death of Piggy—my favorite character and the group’s voice of reason.
This all circles back around to mass bullying, too. It's one of the book's motifs and something I picked up on right away because, well, bullying isn’t exactly new to me. I’ve experienced it both in real life (some of which was obviously broadcast on national television) as well as on social media which, like I said, can sometimes be quite a treacherous place.
There’s a *lot* to think about and discuss in this book, so I’ll just leave you with this: In a world full of Jacks, be a Piggy.
Can’t wait to hear what you think of this classic!
Spoiler level: High
Use the questions below as a discussion guide for your Chloe’s Book Club party or as thought-starters for your own personal journaling. Posting online? Be sure to tag #chloesbookclub and @chloesbookclub. We can’t wait to hear what you think!
1. Within Lord of the Flies exists an incredibly particular set of characters. There's Ralph, the protaganist, who's set on surviving and leaving the island. Jack—who was a choirboy at school—starts as civil, but soon turns hot-headed and violent. Piggy is the brains, often using his smarts for the good of the group. Simon is inherently good and wiser than the rest of the bunch. Each embody a different theme in the novel. What do they represent? In your opinion, what do you think each of these characters' purpose is? Which character do you most closely identify with, if any? Why?
2. Thoughout the novel, the group encounters hardships that force them to leave their innocence behind. In order to survive, they must do things that, had their plane landed safely in its destination, they never would have enountered otherwise. Specifically, what things must the boys do that cause them to "lose their innocence?" In what way are they changed afterward?
3. After Jack calls for Ralph to step down as the group's leader, a divide happens: Ralph and Piggy on one side and Jack and the rest of the boys on the other. Essentially, they divide into cliques. How does this split change the the events that take place in the rest of the novel? If the boys had stayed loyal to Ralph, how might things have turned out differently? How do cliques affect your daily life? Have any of your friends ever "sided" with another friend group? Explain.
4. Simon encounters the beast that all of the boys are afraid of—represented as the Lord of the Flies—in the middle of the forest. It says that he is going to have some "fun" with Simon. What do you think it meant by this? What event could his comment have been foreshadowing?
5. During a final battle between Ralph and Jack, Jack orders his boys to smoke Ralph out of the forest by lighting it on fire. It's this fire that attracts the attention of a passing ship, causing a British naval officer to come ashore and rescue the group. Put yourself in the shoes of the officer: What do you think he was thinking when he ecountered this group of stranded, savage children? Now, put yourself in Ralph's shoes: What would have happened between him and Jack if the officer didn't show up?
One book-loving babe will score the *ultimate* Chloe’s Book Club merch pack, including a Chloe’s Book Club mug, notebook and notepad. Oh, and did we mention the winner will *also* receive a Nook Glowlight 3 from Barnes & Noble? YAS.
Ready to enter—and, fingers crossed, win? Here's how: 1) CLICK HERE to sign up for the Chloe’s Book Club newsletter (you must be on the newsletter list to win!). 2) Make sure you're logged into your GL account, then scroll down to the bottom of this post and click on the pink "Enter" button as many times as you want between now and April 30 at 11:59 P.M. EST. 3) We'll announce one winner right here on Tuesday, May 1. Good luck!
So you've read the book and you're ready to talk all things Lord of the Flies? Wondering *exactly* how Chloe’s Book Club works and what it means to be a member? There are so many ways you can get involved—whether it’s solo, on social media or with your whole squad. Here's a quick list…
+ SOLO. Take your personal reading game to the next level by using Chloe's discussion questions as a guide for your own journaling and personal reflection. If you love to read, it could be fun to start a special book diary where you keep track of all your favorite novels—and the personal musings they inspired.
+ ON SOCIAL MEDIA. Share your thoughts on Lord of the Flies using the hashtags #chloesbookclub and #thepriceguidetotheoccult on Twitter and Instagram. (Just remember: You have to have a public account for us to be able to see and respond to your posts!)
+ WITH YOUR SQUAD. Host an IRL book club party, of course! Don't forget to send us your cute snaps—we want to share them!)
ICYMI: Our besties at Barnes & Noble are hooking you up with 15% off your copy of The Lord of the Flies—so be sure share this exclusive offer with all the babes in your book club! Click here to find the book on the B&N website. When you get to checkout, type in the code chloereads and hit "apply." Proceed with checkout as usual.
And...that's it! Click the pink button below (you must be logged in) to enter the giveaway. Good luck, book clubbers!