What's the opposite of a utopia, or an ideal community? It's the frightening society of hunters that Jack constructs in Lord of the Flies. This wildly superstitious and violent group of boys (who are willing to kill one of their own with their hands and teeth) is as far from ideal as you can get. We've definitely hit the territory of dystopian literature with this one. (For information on other dystopic novels, check out the Shmoop guides to George Orwell's 1984and Aldous Huxley's Brave New World.)
Lord of the Flies is also an adventure, as we see how well (or how poorly) the lads survive on their own. But despite its focus on suspense and physical danger, Lord of the Flies is not the rollicking kind of adventure narrative that you get in, say, Treasure Island. Nope, Lord of the Flies is much more preoccupied with its subtle commentary on warfare and human nature than on the kids' day-to-day efforts to survive on an isolated island.
This isn't Castaway or Survivor: Lord of the Flies. Jeff Probst isn't around to explain to us what challenges face Ralph, Piggy, or Simon. As such, it's an excellent example of literary fiction, a genre preoccupied more with characterization and symbolism than with plot or straight out explanation. And the focus on character development brings us to our genre: coming-of-age.
As the boys around him freak out, we see Ralph develop from a smart, brave, fun-loving kid to a hunted man who preserves his moral perspective even as the island falls into chaos. He recognizes the significance of the murderousness that's overtaken the boys and he manages to survive long enough to be rescued without giving in to their hysteria, something that we're not sure we could manage in his place. We're not totally certain that Ralph has gone from childhood to adulthood – we're not even really convinced that William Golding thinks that children and adults are so different – but he definitely grows as a person throughout the novel.