Compare contrast research paper

            William Golding and Harper Lee are authors of two of literature’s most studied books.  Golding’s Lord of the Flies and Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird remain fixtures in the assigned academic readings for high school and college students.  This is because the stories conveyed in these texts continue to be relevant today as it was when it was initially published.  The books tell two completely different stories in two different ways.  Of course, this difference is attributed to the authors responsible for these texts.  So how do Golding and Lee differ? - Compare contrast research paper introduction.? How are they alike? How are these differences and similarities reflected in their novels? This research paper aims to enumerate the differences and similarities between William Golding and Harper Lee.

            In September 19, 1911, William Golding was born in Cornwall England (Phillips 1).   The year 1940 found England a part of World War  II, and Golding got involved with the Royal Navy.  The war is the single most significant influence for Golding’s 1954 work, Lord of the Flies.   It is a story about several schoolboys stranded on a deserted island after their plane crashed. “Free from the rules and structures of civilization and society, the boys on the island…descend into savagery (Phillips 1).” While some boys kept peace and order, others  resorted to violence and destruction.  Golding derived much of the contents of the book from his experience in the war.  According to Phillips, “Golding’s experience in World War II had a profound effect on his view of humanity and the evils of which it was capable…though the novel is fictional, its exploration of the idea of human evil is at least partly based on Golding’s experience with the real-life violence and brutality of World War II (1).”  The book was a tremendous success; it became a “bestseller in both Britain and the United States (Phillips 1).” After Lord of the Flies, Golding wrote more books; two of which are Pincher Martin, which was published in 1956, and The Brass Butterfly in 1958.  His writing style is both simple and symbolic.  Phillips writes, “Golding employs a relatively straightforward writing  style in Lord of the Flies, one that avoids highly poetic language, lengthy description, and philosophical interludes (1).”  Phillips adds, “Much of the novel is allegorical, meaning that the characters and objects in the novel are infused with symbolic significance that conveys the novel’s central themes and ideas (1).” In 1983, Golding received the Nobel Peace Prize of Literature.  He died in 1993.

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            Nelle Harper Lee was born in Monroeville, Alabama, on April 28, 1926 (Douthat & Phillips 1).  Her father was a lawyer, and this was what pushed her to attend law school as well.  At the tender age of 5, Lee was exposed to the Scottsboro case.  This was the name of the case wherein “nine young black men were accused of raping two white women near Scottsboro, Alabama (Douthat & Phillips 1)” in 1931.  Five of the nine men were sentenced, and people believed this was simply a display of racial discrimination.  It was this trial that inspired Lee to write To Kill a Mockingbird.  She wrote the book after her move to New York, and was published “with revisions in 1960, just before the peak of the civil rights movement (Douthat & Phillips 1).” In 1961, she became the recipient of the Pulitzer Prize.  A few years after, the novel was made into an Academy Award winning movie.  Her writing style is very simplistic, which can be attributed to her law school training.  “Her study of law and its principles helped her develop a lucid prose style; her southern upbringing gave her the raw material which she incorporated into the novel (“Introduction” 1).” Critics even found her writing style similar to another great writer, as they equated “her easy flowing prose style to that of Mark Twain (“Introduction” 1).”

            The differences are easy to detect.  On one hand, Golding is an English male author who used to be a soldier.  On the other hand, Lee is an American female writer who studied law.  He is a Nobel Peace Prize recipient; she, a Pulitzer Prize winner.  He wrote in the era of World War II, while she made a novel against the backdrop of a civil rights movement.  Nonetheless, the similarities far outweigh what set them apart.  First, both authors are known for their very simple and lucid writing styles.  This enables the readers to easily understand the messages they wanted to convey.  Second, both writers are strongly influenced by their upbringing and personal experiences.  Golding turned to his war experiences to write Lord of the Flies.  Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird was inspired by the Scottsboro case; in fact, her father was the model for the character of lawyer Atticus Finch (“Introduction” 1).

            In the end, despite the differences, what is more important is that both Golding and Lee contributed greatly in the world of literature.  Lord of the Flies and To Kill a Mockingbird are two crucial literary gems; they continue to tell stories that will influence readers for years to come.

Works Cited

Douthat, Ross and Brian Phillips. Sparknote on To Kill a Mockingbird. 2006. Sparknotes LLC. 8 Dec. 2007 <>.

“Lee, (Nelle) Harper: Introduction.” 2006. Contemporary Literary Criticism. Ed. Dedria Bryfonski. 8 Dec. 2007 <>.

Phillips, Brian. Sparknote on Lord of the Flies. 2006. Sparknotes LLC. 8 Dec. 2007 <>.


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