Regrettably, as a teenager, I never read too many novels. My head was usually immersed in music, sports, video games, or the clouds, as many would say. However, despite my non-literary interests, a book that I was assigned to read in 9th grade English class helped me grow in more ways than expected.

So how does a novel attract a laid back, short attention span-ed 14 year-old with no interest in literature? It would have to be fast-paced, straight to the point, and shocking. It’s really no surprise that from the second my teacher assigned the class Lord of the Flies, that I was hooked.

Previously, I had been assigned many flavorless novels and plays that I could never sink my teeth into as a teen. The schools mostly assigned historical non-fiction and mainstream classics, which were all fine pieces of work, but I was simply too young to relate to certain themes or appreciate the subtleties. Lord of the Flies was different. The excitement of uncertainty and dark, foreshadowing overtones are what initially kept the book in my hands, but the underlying themes are what keep my mind from straying too far from it, even years after I’ve read it.

Something that I won’t forget is when I told my Father, a man who I’m convinced has read literally every book known to man, that I had just finished the novel. My Father was an accomplished scholar, and an expert in philosophy, psychology, and theology, and being a teacher, he naturally engaged me in discussion upon hearing this. Together, we discussed how Golding’s novel transcended an exciting plot filled with conflict and thought-provoking character development, and enveloped the reader with allegorical themes such as nature vs. nurture. From there, Dad educated me on the perspectives of Hobbes, who valued society, with quotes such as “Life in the state of nature is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.”

The aforementioned quote is not the most agreeable or profound statement in philosophy, but it’s one I’ll always remember, and it’s one I’ll always link to Lord of the Flies. I think the reason it’s had such a deep impact on me is because it’s related to the first novel that truly engaged me. Now, I never look at anything one-dimensionally; every artistic or literary expression will most likely have a deeper, ambiguous meaning that we, as listeners, viewers, readers, and audiences alike can interpret.

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