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Discuss the pessimism that Golding and Garland present in the novels Lord of the Flies and The Beach. Show how both writers have a pessimistic attitude to human nature.

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Nicole Ryan Discuss the pessimism that Golding and Garland present in the novels Lord of the Flies and The Beach. Show how both writers have a pessimistic attitude to human nature. Lord of the Flies was written in 1954, a time when commercialisation was not an issue and media hype only had subtle effects on society. The Beach was written in 1996, American globalisation had begun and the media played a massive part in society. The different times affect the novels in different ways. For example the technological jargon language used in The Beach is very different to the Standard English used in Lord of the Flies. Both novels are similar in some ways yet different in others, although either way they always have hints of pessimism. One of the ways the novels are different is genre. The Beach at first seems to be travel writing, so the reader expects to learn about the journey and culture of the back-packing land of Bangkok, yet the main character Richard travels to an isolated island, where there is a lot of different cultures and races and no one shares the same value systems, traditions, customs or beliefs so the genre seems shift slightly. ...read more.


Jack also wears a black cloak, the reiterative image of black and the bad temperament makes the reader aware he may be apart of the downfall in the novel. The Beach is highly reflective of 'normal' life as it's an adult world, it has rules and people who want to stick together, although, mimicking life in society means there will be rebellion, this is why we depend on policing. Garland believes that there is an underlying evil in all humans, which is why Sal loses her morals so easily. Lord of the Flies has no actual adults, and so is not reflective of 'normal' life. Children live for the moment and do not think things through for example Jack only thinking about food instead of survival. "Hands up" insinuates the school-like tendencies and haven't yet grown up. What splits the group is when Richard refuses to help Bugs in a desperate situation. During the course of the food poisoning Bugs is clearly in distress: "No!' He wailed, then his legs buckled and he slipped backwards." The destruction from just one spoiled squid insinuates that it wouldn't take much to devastate the island, especially if people react like Richard, "Look at yourself, who the fuck do you think is going to clean this mess up?" ...read more.


Society has changed from Golding's time when Standard English was used. The only slang the young boys speak is public school jargon: "Wizzoh!" Lord of the Flies has a Standard English third person narrator because of this we do not feel or know what any characters are thinking we only know actions of people and so we miss a familiarity and understanding of characters and are unable to build a relationship. The beach is written in first person narrative and is autobiographical of it's persona so there is a much more intimate relationship between the reader and Richard. This allows the novel not to be chronological as we can look at Richards's memories and past experience. The memories Richard thinks allow more characterisation, we learn a lot more about him for example when he thinks back to "a trip to India, seventeen years old, more dope than sense." The pessimism throughout both novels suggests that nothing is always as it seems and shows cracks from the very beginning. In Lord of the flies the word devil is mentioned as early as the fifth page, which reflects the characters. Both writers do not suppress their prejudicial feelings toward human nature. ...read more.

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