This summer I challenged my oldest daughter, Mika, to read Lord of the Flies. I knew it’d be an ambitious read for an 11-year-old, but I wanted to introduce her to the concept of literary devices, such as metaphor and symbolism. I told her about the term “common grace,” but was impressed with her ability to bridge her own connection between this book and the Bible.
Last week I made a deal with Mika: if she wrote an essay on this topic, I’d buy her the new book that she’s been wanting, The War I Finally Won (the sequel to a book Ray bought her on their trip to a local bookstore). She was very eager to take me on, and has been working on this writing for the last several days. Other than my help with some spelling and grammar edits, the words are her own.
My Thoughts on Lord of the Flies
By Mika Rigali (Age 11)
I recently read Lord of the Flies by William Golding. Although it is not clear whether or not the author meant for this book to have a biblical connection, its main theme illustrates God’s common grace. Common grace is the universal and undeserved goodness that God gives to everyone, believers and nonbelievers. His common grace is what keeps mankind from destroying itself completely.
Lord of the Flies is set during a fictional worldwide war. A group of boys are marooned on a deserted island after a plane evacuating them from the war has been shot down. Without any adults, the boys develop their own rules. One boy named Ralph finds a gleaming white conch and blows into it to bring all of the other boys together. The conch in this story represents common grace; when it’s around there is peace, joy, and happiness. The conch brings order and gives everyone a chance to speak. Ralph has a friend nicknamed Piggy who is chubby and made fun of, but intelligent and always wanting to solve things justly. Piggy believes the group might be stranded for some time and argues that they should get organized. Ralph is chosen to be the boys’ leader. However, a boy named Jack and his choir boys choose to make their own tribe, separating themselves.
As the story goes on, there is growing conflict between the boys. At its climax, the conch is shattered into a million pieces and Piggy is killed during an argument between Ralph and Jack. Since Piggy died and the conch was destroyed, all of the other boys – except for Ralph – feel free to kill and wreak havoc on one another. This symbolizes when God removes His common grace and man is left to himself. As described in Romans 1: 24-32, without God’s common grace, mankind will “do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil.”
As the island is burning (literally) and the boys are close to destroying themselves, a Navy ship arrives to investigate the flames. The Navy officer is shocked when he sees the boys savagery. Then Ralph and the other boys weep because of their realization of the evil within man’s heart.
Before I read Lord of the Flies I believed that little kids had pure hearts and were absolutely innocent. Reading this book helped me realize that everyone in the world is filled with sin from birth, but by the grace that God has given us through Jesus Christ, we have been forgiven.