Having just seen the 1963 version of one of my favorite novels, Lord of the Flies, it brought back the dramatic emotions I felt upon reading that book in high school. (It wasn't required reading, since the only stuff they required us to read was crap like "A Separate Peace" which taught me that if I wanted to kill someone all I needed to do was push them off a tree and then make them mad later). The story, for those of you who were busy reading about that pain in the ass in "Catcher in the Rye" (seriously, Holden needed a good kick in the ass and the damn book never had that!), goes like this:
A bunch of fancy school kids are the only survivors of a trip across the Pacific and find themselves on a deserted island. There's apparently a lot of food to eat, but they lack any sort of organization without adults around to tell them what to do. A normal, reasonable kid named Ralph takes leadership of the gang, and comes up with rules such as anyone who wants to address the group has to be holding a conch shell, and he tries to rule by consensus. Sadly, his best ally is a fat kid named Piggy who has the social skills of a broken coconut and if he were around today and had wealthy parents he would have been diagnosed with Aspbergers because god forbid anyone accept the fact that some kids are just nerdy weirdos.
Things seem to be going okay until this douchebag kid named Jack encourages a bunch of his followers to break off from the group, since they want to spend all day hunting and not sharing their meat with the others--after all, if they need anything like Piggy's glasses in order to start a fire, why not just steal them? It worked for the Nazis! Unfortunately, Ralph turned out to be more like France than the U.S. and the whole thing goes to pieces by the end.
Watching the film adaptation, I couldn't help but think--what if my kid were stuck on a desert island with a bunch of nerds and douchebags? How would I raise my kid so he doesn't meet the sad fates of the kids in the novel/movie?
1) If my kid were like Ralph--well, I'd teach him a lot about judgment. Piggy's not a bad kid, but a terrible ally! He complains a lot and doesn't help make friends, and it's crucial to have allies against Jack and his thugs. Best to keep Piggy in low profile, and get some tough sneaky but loyal kids on your side. Also, try to go along with Jack like you think he's just awesome. Then when he's not expecting it brain him with a coconut and turn to his followers and sneer "Where's your god now??? Ha ha ha ha" they'll think you went mad, and learn not to mess with Mr. Nice Guy.
2) If my kid were like Jack--I'd not have to worry about him taking the trip in the first place. I'd be so busy smacking the evil right out of the little bastard that I'd forget to buy his ticket. When he asks why he can't take the trip I'd trick him into thinking he smothered his nice sweet twin brother when he was a toddler and that maybe if he wasn't so rotten he'd get to do nice things.
3) If my kid were like Piggy--oh dear lord I hope not. A weak kid is even worse than an evil kid. But I'd spend every day training him to box, to make weapons out of palm fronds (he doesn't have to know why!), and to connivingly play people off against one another. Then I'd strap a roll of gold coins to his ankle so that when everything else doesn't work out he can at least pay one of the other kids to protect him.
I really hope this doesn't fall into the hands of Child Services if I'm trying to adopt some day.
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