Title: Lord of the Flies
Author: William Golding
Summary: A group of adolescent boys between the ages of 6 and 12 are marooned on a deserted island. There are no adults, so they must rely on themselves to survive and to seek a means of rescue. At first, all is fun and games, and the children enjoy the society they have created and the ability to live as they wish. However, as hopes of rescue begin to diminish, things begin to unravel. The boys turn against each other, causing a terrifyingly violent chaos that ultimately shows the depravity of man (even as children) when left to his own devices.
Why it's been challenged: The book has been challenged for its extreme violence and gore (at first in the hunting of animals and then in the children's treatment of each other). Others challenge the book on issues of racism, profanity, and sex. I personally did not feel these themes were abused in the book. One school challenged the book because it is "demoralizing inasmuch as it implies that man is little more than an animal". Ummmm...well, theologically, I do believe that man, in his natural state, is a despicable creature, so I have no issues with that aspect of the book. (ALA)
If I were still teaching, would I allow my class of high schoolers to read this book? Hmmm...yes, I think I would. I would probably write a disclosure letter to the parents and ask for permission first. Some of the passages are really quite disturbing due to their violence (but most teens probably see this quite often in the movies they watch). However, I would probably opt to teach Richard Connell's short story "The Most Dangerous Game". It is much more tame but still deals with a similar topic and the idea that man is an evil creature.