Lord of the Flies: The Novel Study


Though first published in 1954, Lord of the Flies did not become a must-read in English classrooms until its 1959 release in paperback. William Golding’s tale of boys stranded on a tropical island has become so pervasive it has been described as “a compulsory stop of any surveyor of the English novelafter the Second World War.”1

As with all literature, Lord of the Flies creates numerous interpretative possibilities. Countless critiques, studies, and learning resources have been created that address its many themes. Governance and the law is one such theme, and that is the focus of this novel study.

PLEA’s Lord of the Flies: The Novel Study has been written for use with Unit One of Saskatchewan’s Law 30 curriculum, while also having a great deal of relevance to Saskatchewan’s English Language Arts B30 curriculum. It begins with an overview of the fundamentals of law. From there, it proceeds into twelve chapter-specific sections that explore law and governance in relation to the novel. The study is rounded out with a summative activity to bring these concepts together.

Most often, the questions posed in this novel study have no prescribed answers. This is purposeful. In a 1982 essay, William Golding stated:
The book yields easily to explication, to instruction, to the trephining of the pupil’s skull by the teacher and the insertion onto the pupil’s brain by the teacher of what the pupil ought to think about it. I would like the pupil or anyone else to enjoy the book if he can.2
Consequently, Lord of the Flies: The Novel Study is designed not to lead to singular answers. Rather, it is designed to provoke classroom discussion and encourage critical thought about the novel and about the ideas of law and governance.

Although this learning resource can stand alone as an approach to Lord of the Flies, it is in no way a definitive approach for introducing students to this novel. With the many other excellent resources also available, teachers are encouraged to integrate this resource with others in a manner that is best-suited to their classroom and their students.

As the professionals closest to the actual learning that takes place in Saskatchewan classrooms, teachers are welcome to contact PLEA with questions, comments, and critiques of Lord of the Flies: The Novel Study. Email us at Any insights offered will only improve future
learning resources from PLEA.

Lord of the Flies: The Novel Study

The full resource in pdf.

  1. Mark Kinkead-Weekes and Ian Gregor, William Golding: A Critical Study of the Novels.
  2. William Golding, “Belief and Creativity,” A Moving Target.