Lord of the Flies Literary Response Paper
The History Behind the Ink
William Golding, author of the novel Lord of the Flies, lived an interesting
and perspective altering life through the 1900s. As a result of his early
experiences, Golding’s outlook on mankind changed forever. Through the analysis
early life and personal experiences, it becomes evident that he expresses his
through his writing and depicts these ideas through the actions of characters
such as Ralph,
and other boys.
William Golding was born in 1911 in
the United Kingdom. It was
by many that he was brought up to be a scientist due to his father, who was a
believing strongly in science and philosophic
thought. While attending Oxford
he changed his major from science to English literature two years in and become
Anglo Saxon. This change in paths was extremely crucial to Golding’s future
beginning of his journey as a well known novelist. Consequently, Golding graduated
Oxford University in 1935 and published a volume of poetry. Following this, as
Golding, he “wasted” the next four years of his life working with a small
theater in London.
stated by Diane Tegen in Novels for
Students “…and spent four years writing, acting, and
for a small London theater”(175). After supposedly wasting four years of his
in his father’s footsteps and became a school master, but for only a year.
The event that had most affected
Golding’s outlook on mankind was his exposure to war.
had joined the navy in 1940 and fought along side Britain during World War II.
ever been around violence due to having a sheltered upbringing and attending a
private English school, so he was in for a major life-changing experience: “Golding
present at the sinking of the Bismarck–the
crown ship of the German Navy—and also took
the D-Day landings in France in June 1944″(Tegen 175). By Golding experiencing
situations, Golding was left cynical about man’s goodness. He saw mankind as evil,
especially when there is no order and power to keep everyone civilized. He
believes that there is a beast within every human being and that’s just how
mankind is: “He later described his experience in the war as one in which ‘one
had one’s nose rubbed in the human condition'”(175) implying that without law
and order, humans will revert back to their primitive state and will do
to keep themselves alive.
Golding’s view on mankind changed, he expressed his new point of view through
his novel Lord of the Flies and its
characters. Golding believes that without authority, humans will act crazy and
return back to their chaotic and primitive ways but with law and order, everyone
will remain civilized. In Lord of the
Flies, Roger attempts to throw rocks at Henry but something holds him back.
there was a space round Henry, perhaps six yards in diameter, into which he
dare not throw. Here, invisible yet strong was the taboo of the old life. Round
the squatting child was the protection of parents and school and policemen and
the law. Roger’s arm was conditioned by a civilization that knew nothing of him
and was in ruins.(62)
In the back of Rogers mind, there is still this
feeling of authority watching over him which prevents him from hurting Henry.
This action supports Golding’s view of mankind because if Roger had not felt
that he was going to get in trouble for his following actions, he would have
continued with throwing the rocks and potentially hurting Henry. Aside from
this, the biggest symbol of law and order on the island amongst the boys is the
conch shell. The conch represents order, and encourages the boys to have
respect and patience for each other. “‘That’s what this shell’s called. I’ll
give the conch to the next person to speak. He can hold it when he’s speaking'”(21).
The conch keeps everyone in order and keeps the boys acting in a civilized
manner. Another character that portrays civilized actions is Piggy. In the
beginning of the novel, Piggy is concerned about where the pilot is and if
there are any grownups on the island with them. Piggy’s concern shows how he
cannot stray from authority and needs someone to look after him. “There was
that pilot. But he wasn’t in the passenger cabin, he was up in front”(8). “Aren’t
there any grownups at all?”(8). To add on, Piggy still follows his Aunt’s rules
even though she is not there with him. “My auntie told me not to run on account
of my asthma”(9). These boys are behaving normally because belonging to a
civilized nation is still fresh in their minds and is preventing them from doing
anything that they would not normally do.
the majority of the boys act civilized for some parts of the novel, there are
other significant parts where their savagery truly shows. For example, in the
beginning of the novel, Ralph realizes there are no adults around so he gets completely
naked and lies in the sand. He then proceeds to pile sand onto himself. “He
undid the snake-clasp of his belt, lugged off his shorts and pants, and stood
there naked, looking at the dazzling beach and water”(10). Ralph is showing
savage behavior because he is acting like an animal and if he were to do this
in the macrocosm, he would be most likely be charged with public indecency.
Although this is not an intense depiction of savagery due to lack of authority,
the problems do become more critical as new characters are introduced.