This is a strange book for me because in some very important ways, I think this book is absolutely brilliant and a master class in style. But also, I don’t really like it. The point of view in this novel is where the master stylist at work comes through. This is a book with zero supernatural elements to it, but because the point of view is so closely linked to the internalizations of the world by the various boys whose consciousness the novel follows, we get the world remade through their eyes. So the Beast, which is not real, is made real. The Lord of the Flies, which is not talking, talks, and various other examples of it.
I also think there’s a false reading of this book that pervades a lot of discussion of it. I don’t think this book is about the boys’ atavism toward a more savage and primitive world. I think instead, they are merely recreating society, as they see it, without the pretense of civilization. They inhabit a world (in our world, the world in which the US has bombed two Japanese cities for 1oos of 1000s of lives, and in which Russia and Germany have obliterated the lives of tens of millions) and their own world, where Piggy makes direct but vague references to atom bombs dropping. They also have seen the world fall into two distinct camps — democracy and fascism. So the idea that rules will save you, that order matters in the long run, is both correct, but absurd. So I don’t think this is basic human nature any more than our own deeply corrupt world is basic human nature, and it makes more direct sense to hunt and kill, than to have order, as Piggy and Ralph would have it.