Lord of the food flies

When I was about 14, we had to read Lord of the Flies at school — and I hated it. Now, 40 years on, I’m absolutely loving it. I really don’t see why anyone would have thought it suitable for teenagers, though. OK, the characters are aged between six and twelve, but the themes — alienation, disintegration of society, corruption and power, anomie — are really way beyond most adolescents’ grasp.

There is one thing I don’t understand, though: if they’re living on fruits and berries and generally feeling malnourished because of it (hence their joy at nomming the pig Jack kills) — how come Piggy stays fat?

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