I saw a blog (can't remember where) referring to what's happening in New Orleans as becoming like "Lord of the Flies" (did you know that Golding's original title was "The Stranger Within"?). That happens to be the book that I am currently teaching my ninth graders. The reference provided me a great opportunity to link current events to literature. Golding was right: when the rules of society and civilization break down, we truly find out what kind of people we are. It is what we do when we think no one is watching or we think that we won't be caught that is the true measure of our virtue. That was the point of my old China post where I pondered if the Chinese would still be so polite when the gun of Chino-fascism was no longer at their backs. Before Communism fell in the Soviet Union, crime, adultery, violence, gangs, etc were nearly non-existent. Now they are ubiquitous. The people of the old Soviet Union were not extra-virtuous; they simply had no choice.
On a lighter note, one of my classes discussed the question, "What would the island [in Lord of the Flies] have been like if girls had been there as well?" One student suggested a new title, Lady of the Flies". The girls thought things would have been much better. Eventually, we decided the dispute would not have been over hunting or shelter, but over cooties. We settled on the title "Lord of the Cooties".