• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Compare and contrast Defoe's Robinson Crusoe with Golding's Lord of the Flies.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Wider Reading Essay Compare and contrast Defoe's Robinson Crusoe with Golding's Lord of the Flies. This essay will compare the two novels, Robinson Crusoe and Lord of the Flies, to see how each author reflected the point of view of society at the time that they lived in. The nature of civilisation will be viewed from their two different perspectives. Daniel Defoe published Robinson Crusoe in 1719; William Golding published Lord of the Flies in 1954. Both novels are the first fiction works of their respective authors and they deal with the issue of being deprived of the surroundings of the civilisation that they are used to. The former is about a man, shipwrecked repeatedly, and how he survives in the face of slavery and savagery. The latter concerns a group of schoolchildren whose plane crashes onto an island after a nuclear war breaks out and explains how they cope and change as time wears on with no sign of a rescue. Although the subject matter of these two books is similar on the surface, there is a contrast in the way the two authors represent civilisation. Daniel Defoe was a novelist, journalist, businessman and spy. He defended William of Orange and Mary's rise to the throne. He attacked the Church of England in his book The Shortest Way with Dissenters and he was fined and imprisoned, but after his release he became a spy for the government. He did not begin writing until he was almost sixty. ...read more.

Middle

The main character in Lord of the Flies is named Ralph and this story starts with another boy and him discussing what happened to the plane that they were in. After finding more children and no adults he called a meeting where he said, "Seems to me that we ought to have a chief to decide things." This shows he had some views on the need for planning. Jack, another boy, also had some sense of civilisation: "After all, we're not savages. We're English; and the English are best at everything." This is ironic, as later on he is the one to break all the rules and become the chief of the savages. Eventually they came to a disagreement over a signal they had lit to try and attract rescue ships. Ralph wanted to keep it going, but the other children wanted to hunt animals. The group acted like a savage tribe and eventually chooses to abandon civilised living: one of Ralph's friends, Piggy, offers the choice: "Which is better - to be a pack of painted niggers like you are, or to be sensible like Ralph is? ... Which is better - to have rules and agree, or to hunt and kill? ... Which is better, law and rescue, or hunting and breaking things up?" The group then killed him and Ralph was running for his life. He represents a leader of a democratic society, which soon collapsed. "One chanced nothing! ...read more.

Conclusion

William Golding essentially believes that all humans are evil inside, but it is just that civilisation puts pressure on you to keep in place and if it were not for the controls present in civilised society, we would all be like the savage group. "There was no Piggy to talk sense. There was no solemn assembly for debate nor dignity of the conch." The Navy officer who arrived to take them back to the waiting ship said, "I should have thought that a pack of British boys would have been able to put up a better show than that." Robinson Crusoe, on the other hand, arrived home with Friday (his servant) and immediately wanted to set sail again for South America. "My true friend the widow earnestly diswaded me from it, and so far prevail'd with me, that for almost seven years she prevented my running abroad." This shows that he still had an adventurous spirit and was willing to go out again confident that he would be able to cope with any troubles. Both stories show that civilisation needs controls before it is effective; rules need to be enforced and reason alone may not be enough to ensure survival. Crusoe may not have survived without his gun and Ralph had nothing to protect himself with when the symbol of civilisation (the conch) was broken. In spite of this similarity, Defoe's book presents a positive outlook for the future of humanity as civilisation spread across the globe, whereas Golding's work suggested that the weapon would be used not to support civilisation, but to destroy it. Both reflect the world view of their times. Nathan Mayer 1 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE William Golding section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

4 star(s)

This piece shows a good contextual understanding of the novels and the impact these contexts had on the writers. While this is relevant I would advise spending more time analysing the texts for similarities and differences and considering how the authors may have presented similar ideas in different ways.

4 Stars

Marked by teacher Laura Gater 19/06/2013

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE William Golding essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Fear of the Unknown- Lord of the Flies

    5 star(s)

    When, Simon actually found the true harmless beast, misfortune struck him, before the truth come into fore, he was mistaken as the beast and was killed. By showing this fear of the unknown, Golding could be telling us that the fear creates the inert weakness within every society.

  2. Marked by a teacher

    Less Obvious Symbols in Lord of the Flies

    4 star(s)

    the island, and this demonstrates how his physical ability enabled him to take control over the other boys. But Ralph becomes less energetic as the novel progresses, as if his energy, and power, is drained by Jack: 'He came now out of the coco-nut trees...sat down in the grass.'

  1. Compare and contrast Ralph and Jack as leaders

    After this Jack hits Piggy; Jack has lost the self control that was in place before he was held back from violence due to the moral trappings of society. Later on in the book, Jack's leadership starts to become more appealing to the boys.

  2. TITANIC – Critical Essay

    The film is based on the two universal themes that are 'forbidden love' and 'courage in the face of disaster'. The first the 'forbidden love' between Jack and Rose is used to develop 'real' and 'modern' characters with whom the audience can relate and sympathise when the tragedy occurs.

  1. Explore the Significance of Simon's Death in Lord of the Flies.

    huts built represent the want to be back in civilisation, a civilization, where society holds everyone together, where, without this structure, basics of right and wrong are lost, without society's rigid rules, where anarchy and savagery can take over. Golding creates a world of increasing violence where as time extends

  2. To what extent is Lord of the flies a pessimistic book?

    Ralph feels powerful when he blows it 'his face was dark with the violent pleasure of making this stupendous noise'. To begin with all the boys treat the conch with respect and they answer to its call. However later on in the book, when Jack breaks up an assembly the

  1. 'Lord of the Flies' by William Golding Compare and Contrast the characters of ...

    Ralph's physical appearance also favours him. He is tall, agile, a good swimmer with "a mildness about his mouth and eyes that proclaim no devil." This is a clear indication of Ralph's character. However, he does not convey as much confidence as Jack.

  2. Explore the ways Golding uses and presents setting in Lord of the Flies.

    Upon first discovering the area, there are mixed reactions between Ralph, who says ?This is a rotten place? and Jack who becomes excited and exclaims ?What a place for a fort!? Golding is presenting how Castle Rock, a ?detached? pile of rocks that ?in a matter of centuries?would make an

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work