Both Golding and Dickens have concerns for the moral welfare of their societies. What concerns do they have? How are they relevant to the time in which they are writing and how are these ideas communicated through character and setting?

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Both Golding and Dickens have concerns for the moral welfare of their societies.

What concerns do they have? How are they relevant to the time in which they are writing and how are these ideas communicated through character and setting?

Both Golding and Dickens convey their concerns for the moral welfare of their societies through Lord of the Flies and Great Expectation. In this essay I will show their concerns for the moral welfare of their societies and how they communicate their concerns through character and setting.

William Golding’s one of many concerns about the moral welfare of his society is that he believes that man would destroy the earth with atomic warfare and nuclear weapons. Golding uses the fact that the boys were brought to the island through atomic warfare in the air to display his feeling about Atomic Warfare in his society. It is the Atomic Warfare that brought the boys to the island, and it is that, therefore what led the boys to corruptness and all of the killing. This further brings to light Golding’s concern that Man would destroy the earth and each other with Atomic Warfare and Nuclear Weapons. I believe that Golding decided to end the novel with the officer coming to the rescue rather than all of the boys leading a horrible death because he wanted to show that the experience on the island can be compared to the real world. In an interview with Golding he says: -

“The whole book is symbolic in nature except the rescue in the end where the adult life appears, dignified and capable, but in reality enmeshed in the same evil as the symbolic life of the children on the island. The officer, having interrupted a manhunt, prepares to take the children off the island in a cruiser, which will presently be hunting its enemy in the same implacable way. And who will rescue the adult and his cruiser?”

Here Golding is trying to say that there is no difference between the island world and the adult one. Even though the boys seem to be rescued, who will rescue the adult? The adult may have stopped the manhunt on the island but now he will be going on a manhunt himself.  The children reveal the same nature as adults in the real world.

Golding is concerned about Atomic Warfare, as he had seen so much suffering as a cause of it, during World War 2. In Goldings collected essays. The hot gates, there is a piece about Lord of the Flies called “Fable”, in which he says,

“Before the second world War, I believed in the perfectibility of social man; that a correct structure of society would produce goodwill; and that therefore you could remove all social ills by reorganisation of society. It is possible that today I believe something of the same again; but after the was I did not because I was unable to. I had discovered what one man could do to another.”

Golding’s experience of this can be seen brought out in “Lord of the Flies.” With this in mind Jack can be seen as a representation of Hitler, and the choir as an image for the Nazis. However he could have easily had in mind the type of people who have become powerful force in society in the past. People like these usually begin dedicated and form good order under good leadership, but often impose their views on others by means of force and become violent and murderous. This is probably what Golding thought of society at the time as this is brought out in Jack and his tribe vividly. Golding is making a distinct warning against over-powerful dictatorships. Jack does not wan any other force opposing him in any way. Golding is trying to say that democracy cannot simply exist on rules and laws and a few symbols like the conch, “ We can use this to call the others. Have a meeting. They’ll come when they hear us.” This shows that the conch was just a convenient noisemaker. Golding is trying to say that society relies on goodwill, hope and understanding and hope of the people.

Another concern that Golding has about the moral welfare of his society is that the weak are oppressed or persecuted and you shouldn’t judge people by physical appearance. The first death is the littlun with the birthmark… “the crowd was as silent as death”. Later, Simon and Piggy die, and they too have physical “defects”. None of the other boys have physical defects like these. Golding probably shows this to show that in our society the weaker people are sometimes made outsiders because they are not perfect in every shape or form. The outsider is feared, mocked or persecuted. This is represented by Simon and Piggy. The death of the littlun with the birthmark is the first of several events that ultimately leads to the destruction of society in the novel. Simon is described as a “skinny, vivid little boy”, who is prone to fainting. Simon’s bright eyes suggest to Ralph that he is “delightfully gay” and “wicked”. Simon, although uncomfortable, feels “a perilous necessity to speak”. He tries to explain his feeling that the beast may be inside them “…maybe it’s only us.” Golding then goes straight on to say that “Simon became inarticulate in his effort to express mankind’s essential illness. I think here, Golding is trying to say that it is useless telling mankind of their mistakes because their nature will cause them to ignore them and anything related to them. Piggy is also mocked and persecuted because of his physical defects. He is immediately branded as fat, clumsy, good matured and not good at games. He has physical discomforts such as myopia, asthma, “Can’t catch my breath. I was the only boy in our school what had asthma… and I’ve been wearing specs since I was three.”  It is right that he should have a lower-class tone and the inaccurate way he speaks, should be associated with the values of Auntie and the sweet shop. There is also a class divide between the boys, at least in the first part of the book. Piggy is from a lower class the rest of the boys and is mocked and left out because of it. I think here Golding is trying to portray the class system. The higher class takes priority even though the lower class may be right. For example when Ralph is speaking to Piggy he looks down on him “I could swim when I was five. Daddy taught me. He’s a commander in the Navy. When he gets leave he’ll come and rescue us. Piggy's reason cannot control the boys, his belief that science can explain everything makes him unable to comprehend the reality of the Beast “ scientific.... I know there isn't no beast...but I know there isn't no fear, either.... Unless we get frightened of people.”  Piggy denies that there could be a beast: "Course there isn't a beast in the forest. How could here be? What would a beast eat?"

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"We eat pig"

And it is Piggy whom they ultimately destroy. The boys do indeed eat the pig and Piggy is destroyed by the darkness within every one of the boys. This is also in some way ironic.

Piggy may be the brains in the novel but the beast in Roger, by smashing his skull, makes those brains useless. Piggy honestly believes that if only they would behave like grown-ups all would be well; if a ship carrying grown-ups would spot them they would be saved. This idea seems to make out that grown ups would be the ...

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