Reacting against Victorian optimism and to the horrors of the 20th Century, William Golding chose to express his anti-Utopian views about humanity in ‘Lord of the Flies’ (1954). Explore how Golding crafts his narrative in order to voice his phil
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Reacting against Victorian optimism and to the horrors of the 20th Century, William Golding chose to express his anti-Utopian views about humanity in 'Lord of the Flies' (1954). Explore how Golding crafts his narrative in order to voice his philosophical views about 'man's essential illness'. To what extent do you agree with his views? Golding's dystopian views of 'man's essential illness' are derived from his experience of 20th Century warfare. 'Lord of the Flies' is a fable in which Golding displays man's flaws inside a microcosm. This didactical work shows us that we have far to go, but there is hope. I will study his novel to discover his views, and will decide if I concur with them. Golding was born in Cornwall in 1911, and brought up in Wiltshire. His father was a teacher and a socialist and his mother actively supported the campaign for votes for women, so from an early age he was aware of social and political systems and their influence on people. During the Second World War, Golding joined the Royal Navy and took part in the sinking of the Bismarck and the Normandy landings on D-Day. His experience of the war had a profound effect on his view of the world. He learnt how brutal people can be. Although he was appalled by the evils of Nazism and the Third Reich, he said in an interview in 1963 that everyone was capable of inhumanity, not just the German or the Japanese. He saw Nazism as an evil system, and so horrifying that it could not be explained through reason alone. Later on he looked for an explanation in the nature of human beings, in their capacity for brutality and inhumanity.
None of the other boys understand him; he is simply dismissed as 'batty' and 'funny'. His perception of the natural life of the island has a distinct contrast to the other boys. When he retreats to his secret den and is absorbed by richness and variety, he recognises that the real beast is in everyone, and that this truth must be accepted before we are either ruled by it or overcome it. At the end he becomes a martyr, who died for others, he is killed as he tries to tell the boys the truth about the beast. From the beginning Jack is singled out from the rest of the boys because of his flame red hair. This insights a sense of ferocity and violence in the reader's mind, even before his personality is revealed. He contributes to the whole group by providing meat. Jack openly contests Ralph's leadership and is obsessed with power. At the start he controls the 'wearily obedient' choir with military discipline. Jack rebels against hope of rescue due to the amount of pleasure and enjoyment he is having on the island. Jack rejects the democratic processes by which rules and decisions are made, and instead imposes his own desires by force. Jack rules in an autocratic embodiment of power. He enjoys his 'subjects' to be hurt in order for their obedience and loyalty. Ironically if they hadn't have been rescued, Jack's tribe would have lost their main source of food, the fruit trees that were burning, to route out Ralph. 'The fools! The fools! The fire must be almost at the fruit trees-what would they eat tomorrow?' He overcomes and suppresses the civilised restraints which originally prevented him from killing a pig and surrenders himself to his violent and bloodthirsty instincts.
His mind is obviously degrading, because he eventually has 'one of his times', a fit, which is a result of great mental stress. Simon is a macrocosm of every person on earth, he is facing the two parts of his inner self, the good and the evil within him are confronting each other externally. Strangely the evil within him is externalised outside of Simon whereas the goodness within him stays inside of him. Golding does this to show us that we all externalise our fears into a tangible object, so that we can defeat it in some way. But if it were displayed inside us then we would have no clear way in which to defeat the evilness within us all. Golding portrays the whole of the human race in these few boys. He reverses mankind's evolutionary state; he removes civilisations restrictions on them so their natural primal state is laid bare. We are shown that are roots were based around murderous savages, which, if left unchecked, we would all eventually become. I think that Golding has shown the disintegration of the boy's personalities to such an extent to achieve the direct opposite of Ballantyne. I believe that Golding completely believes in the 'original sin' that resides in all human beings. Although I think that we all have a part of us that is in tune with evil, most of the world's population has the ability to control this side of our personality, and in most, will only surface in extreme conditions. In effect, I partly believe in Golding's theory because he gives us examples of evil, within Roger and Jack. But I can also see that humans have a natural good side to them, in which Golding has shown in Simon. The author has written a profound novel which does display 'man's essential illness' that we will never escape from. By Cheryl Gogin
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