World Book Day, 4 March 2021

As it is World Book Day today, I thought I would look at back at a book that I enjoyed when I was younger.

I really enjoyed Lord of the Flies by William Golding. In fact, I so enjoyed it, I downloaded it on my Kindle last year to re-read.

The book focuses on a group of British boys stranded on an uninhabited island and their disastrous attempt to govern themselves. Themes include the tension between groupthink and individuality, between rational and emotional reactions, and between morality and immorality.

Two of the boys, Ralph and Piggy, discover a conch shell on the beach, and Piggy realises it could be used as a horn to summon the other boys. The conch shell becomes so much more including a way of gaining control. It still makes me smile in meetings when everyone is talking and someone will say give me a conch shell to get quiet, something that would be helpful on Zoom! Clearly the book has influenced lots of people.

Although we have not been marooned on a desert island, the last year has certainly seen us out of our comfort zone and placed many of us in very different and unusual situations. The lessons from the Lord of Flies are many and are still relevant today. I think we all need to learn to listen to each other and support and work together to help out in difficult times. In fact, as I reflect on the last year, the vast majority of people did not follow the disastrous boys’ approach to survive and we saw many communities coming together and supporting each other.

As we start to return to school, we must not forget that together we are stronger and so let each of us extend the hand of friendship, listen and be kind to each other.

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