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In Your Opinion, Does Golding Believe In the Existence of Good or Is His Vision of Human Nature Wholly Pessimistic? William Golding's "Lord of the Flies".

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Introduction

In Your Opinion, Does Golding Believe In the Existence of Good or Is His Vision of Human Nature Wholly Pessimistic William Golding's "Lord of the Flies" follows a party of British boys stranded on a paradise island and it follows their descent from civilisation to savagery and brutality. Golding's experience of war has more than likely had an effect on the pessimistic way it has been presented. Using Jack, the novels antagonist, shows the pessimistic view of human nature, but when Simon, the novels Christ figure develops, it makes it hard to distinguish whether Golding's view of the boys' nature is optimistic or pessimistic. Golding has made much of this novel pessimistic by using grotesque images like the dead parachutist as a metaphor for a puppet and the pigs head. The basis of an adventure story is lost early on and becomes secondary to the various themes of optimism and pessimism throughout the novel. At some points during the novel, slight optimism of human nature is seen like at such points as the democratic meeting that held. These are quite adult and civilised but the ratio of pessimism to optimism is very high. In the very first paragraph, the crashing of the plane on the island is the first sign of pessimism in the novel and this will escalate to much worse things. ...read more.

Middle

The descent into savagery has quickened but fortunately for Ralph he still has some authority and the boys nature is not entirely pessimistic at this point as when Ralph blows the conch they still come to him. The group are still talking about the monster but Ralph, trying to be the authority of the group assures them that there is nothing to be afraid of; this is a mixed message, pessimistic because they think of the Beast but good because Ralph is acting like an adult and being very calm about it. The nature of the boys becomes fairly hostile at this point as they begin to argue over the laws that were laid down at the very start, some have been going to the toilet at different places, they are not building shelter and they are not collecting drinking water. Jack becomes very antagonistic towards Piggy and Golding really pushes the reality of the pessimistic outlook on us at this point. From now one, the message Golding is giving becomes clear. Ralph becomes more worried about the boys becoming undisciplined which in a way is optimistic as he can see clearly and his vision has not been blurred like that of the other boys but Jack and his choir of hunters are becoming more savage by the minute and this is influencing everyone else on the island and Golding is portraying these boys in a much more negative way than Ralph, Simon and Piggy. ...read more.

Conclusion

Is this fair for the boys? Would they have been better off left on the island? Three boys have been killed on the island. In my view this is not a very optimistic statistic. I think that it is good that they have been rescued, but not that they have been rescued by a naval ship, an omen to what is going to become of the and the fact that many of the boys have become so primeval it would be hard to adjust them out of the pessimistic mind frame. Maybe they should have been left on the island. Even at this point though, Ralph is still trying to stand strong. He comes forward to talk to the officer, maybe an optimistic sign for Ralph? Maybe he hasn't been blinded like a majority of the others have. Golding has certainly given the reader a rollercoaster of optimism and pessimism but I think the final cruel irony of being saved by a naval ship and thrown from one war into another shows that his vision of human nature is quite tormented and pessimistic. One of the last sentences, in my view, really sums up Ralph's journey on the island for the time he has been there, "Ralph wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of man's heart, and the fall through the air of the true, wise friend called Piggy." Jamie Symonds 10P ...read more.

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