What We Are Reading Today: ‘Lord of the Flies’

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Updated 16 April 2024
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What We Are Reading Today: ‘Lord of the Flies’

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  • The novel explores themes of human nature, civilization, power and the inherent darkness within individuals

Author: William Golding

“Lord of the Flies” is a coming of age novel by British novelist William Golding. First published in 1954, the title has since become a classic of modern literature.

It tells the story of a group of British boys who find themselves stranded on an uninhabited island after their plane crashes during a wartime evacuation.

The novel explores themes of human nature, civilization, power and the inherent darkness within individuals. As the boys struggle to survive and establish order on the island, their society gradually descends into chaos and savagery.

The title refers to a severed pig’s head, symbolizing the evil and primitive instincts that take hold of the boys.

The main characters in the novel include Ralph, a charismatic and responsible boy who tries to maintain order and establish a signal fire to attract rescuers; Jack, a power-hungry and savage boy who becomes the leader of a group of hunters; Piggy, an intelligent but socially marginalized boy who serves as Ralph’s adviser; and Simon, a quiet and introspective boy who experiences a deep connection with nature.

As the story progresses, the boys’ civilization erodes, and they succumb to their primal instincts, engaging in violence and tribal warfare.

“Lord of the Flies” explores the destructive potential of unchecked power, the loss of innocence, and the conflict between civilization and savagery.

The novel has always been subject to various interpretations and perspectives by different readers and scholars. Much of it has been analyzed through the lens of allegorical human nature, political and social commentary, and even Freudian psychology.

“Lord of the Flies” has left a lasting impact on literature and popular culture through its exploration of universal themes, and its enduring relevance in contemporary society.

Its portrayal of the human condition and the fragility of civilization continues to resonate with readers, making it a classic that is worthy of being read again.

 


What We Are Reading Today: ‘Color in Nature’

What We Are Reading Today: ‘Color in Nature’
Updated 25 May 2024
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What We Are Reading Today: ‘Color in Nature’

What We Are Reading Today: ‘Color in Nature’

Authors: Justin Marshall, Thomas Cronin, Sonke Johnsen, Ron Douglas, Anya Hurlbert, Jane Boddy and Fabio Cortesi

This beautifully illustrated book unlocks nature’s colorful purpose, revealing how creatures see color as well as shedding light on the important part that it plays in animal behavior, from reproduction and communication to aggression and defense. 


What We Are Reading Today: The Great Escape: Health, Wealth, and the Origins of Inequality

What We Are Reading Today: The Great Escape: Health, Wealth, and the Origins of Inequality
Updated 24 May 2024
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What We Are Reading Today: The Great Escape: Health, Wealth, and the Origins of Inequality

What We Are Reading Today: The Great Escape: Health, Wealth, and the Origins of Inequality

What We Are Reading Today: Birds of the Middle East

What We Are Reading Today: Birds of the  Middle East
Updated 23 May 2024
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What We Are Reading Today: Birds of the Middle East

What We Are Reading Today: Birds of the  Middle East

Authors: Richard Porter, Oscar Campbell, & Abdulrahman Al-Sirhan

The Middle East is home to some of the most spectacular birdlife in the world.

It features 180 superb color plates depicting some 900 species and subspecies as well as 646 color distribution maps that show the breeding range for almost every species.


Book Review: ‘The Undiscovered Self’ by Carl Jung

Book Review: ‘The Undiscovered Self’ by Carl Jung
Updated 23 May 2024
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Book Review: ‘The Undiscovered Self’ by Carl Jung

Book Review: ‘The Undiscovered Self’ by Carl Jung
  • Loss of personal responsibility, the author suggests, can lead to the rise of mass movements and, ultimately, totalitarianism

“The Undiscovered Self,” written by Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Carl Jung in 1957, delivers a warning about the dangers of modern collectivism, arguing that individuals are increasingly losing touch with their true selves.

Loss of personal responsibility, the author suggests, can lead to the rise of mass movements and, ultimately, totalitarianism. 

The book offers a prescription for individual psychological development and moral autonomy as an antidote to society’s collectivist forces.

Jung explains the structure of the psyche, with the conscious ego and much larger subconscious, which contains universal archetypes, as well as personal complexes and shadows that shape our behavior.

The book emphasizes the importance of understanding and integrating the unconscious rather than just relying on the conscious mind.

Jung also explores the notion of “self,” defining “individuation” as the process of integrating the conscious and unconscious to become a whole, individualized person. 

This requires embracing one’s shadow side and personal complexes, not just the socially acceptable persona. 

True individuality and freedom come from this process of self-discovery and self-realization, Jung believes. 

He encourages individuals to take responsibility for their psychological development, a process that involves introspection, self-knowledge, and a willingness to confront the unconscious. 

For additional reading, I would recommend “The Red Book,” which outlines the development of many of Jung’s major theories. 
 


What We Are Reading Today: The World Atlas of Rivers, Estuaries, and Deltas

What We Are Reading Today: The World Atlas of Rivers, Estuaries, and Deltas
Updated 22 May 2024
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What We Are Reading Today: The World Atlas of Rivers, Estuaries, and Deltas

What We Are Reading Today: The World Atlas of Rivers, Estuaries, and Deltas

Authors: Jim Best, Stephen Darby, Luciana Esteves, & Carol Wilson 

From the Congo and the Mekong to the Seine and the Mississippi, Earth’s rivers carve through landscapes before coursing into the world’s oceans through estuaries and deltas.

“The World Atlas of Rivers, Estuaries, and Deltas” takes readers on an unforgettable tour of these dynamic bodies of water, explaining how they function at each stage of their flow.