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Lord of the Flies Intro
Transcript of Lord of the Flies Intro
By William Golding
William Golding was born in Cornwall in 1911 and was educated at Marlborough Grammar School and at Brasenose College, Oxford.
Apart from writing, his occupations included being a schoolmaster, a lecturer, an actor, a sailor, and a musician. His father was a schoolmaster and his mother was a suffragette.
He was brought up to be a scientist, but revolted. After two years at Oxford he read English literature instead, and became devoted to Anglo-Saxon studies. He spent five years at Oxford, published a volume of poems in 1935, taught at Bishop Wordsworth's School, Salisbury.
He joined the Royal Navy in 1940 and spent six years afloat, except for seven months in New York and six months helping Lord Cherwell at the Naval Research Establishment. He saw action against battleships (at the sinking of the Bismarck), submarines and aircraft. Golding finished as Lieutenant in command of a rocket ship. He was present off the French coast for the D-Day invasion, and later at the island of Walcheren.
After the war he returned to teaching, and began to write again. Lord of the Flies, his first novel, was published in 1954. It was filmed by Peter Brook in 1963.
So what is it about?
William Golding presented numerous themes and basic ideas that give the reader something to think about. One of the most basic and obvious themes is that society holds everyone together, and without these conditions, our ideals, values, and the basics of right and wrong are lost. Without society's rigid rules, anarchy and savagery can come to light.
Golding is also showing that morals come directly from our surroundings, and if there is no civilization around us, we will lose these values.
Civilization vs. Savagery
The central concern of Lord of the Flies is the conflict between two competing impulses that exist within all human beings. The instinct to live by rules, act peacefully, follow moral commands, and value the good of the group is held against the instinct to gratify one’s immediate desires, act violently to obtain supremacy, and to enforce one’s will. This conflict might be expressed in a number of ways: civilization vs. savagery, order vs. chaos, reason vs. impulse, law vs. anarchy, or the broader heading of good vs. evil. Throughout the novel, Golding associates the instinct of civilization with good and the instinct of savagery with evil.
Like Animal Farm, Lord of the Flies is an allegorical novel. This means that Golding conveys many of his main ideas and themes through symbolic characters and objects. He represents the conflict between civilization and savagery in the conflict between the novel’s two main characters: Ralph, the protagonist, who represents order and leadership; and Jack, the antagonist, who represents savagery and the desire for power.
Loss of Innocence
The boys on the island progress from well-behaved, orderly children longing for rescue, to cruel, bloodthirsty hunters who have no desire to return to civilization. They naturally lose the sense of innocence that they possessed at the beginning of the novel. Golding does not portray this loss of innocence as something that is done to the children; rather, it results naturally from their increasing openness to the innate evil and savagery that has always existed within them.
Class and Status
Life and Death
Guilt and Innocence
Conflicts in the novel include...
Will the boys find a way to
survive without adults, without
structure and without consequences?
How do the rules of society play out when there is no society?
The Coral Island: A Tale of the Pacific Ocean (1858) is a novel written by Scottish juvenile fiction author R. M. Ballantyne at the height of the British Empire. The story relates the adventures of three boys marooned on a South Pacific island, the only survivors of a shipwreck
and ideas include:
•When given a chance, people
often single out another
to degrade to improve
their own security.
•You can only cover up inner
savagery so long before it breaks out,
given the right situation.
•The fear of the unknown can be
a powerful force, which can
turn you to either
insight or hysteria.
•People will abuse power
when it's not earned.
•It's better to examine the consequences
of a decision before you make it
than to discover them afterward.
Dichotomy of human existence
Shakespeare addressed this in the 'Great Chain of Being', Sigmund Freud theorised about the Id, Ego and the SuperEgo