The Message of William Golding in Lord of the Flies
That Golding’s ultimate message of LOTF in one of hope, survival and the espousing of civility Explore how the context in which William Golding wrote impacted upon his work. Golding lived through one of the darkest times in human history, the Second World War. It was a war in which 55 million people died, the Nazi’s committed atrocities which horrified the world and the United States used an atomic bomb to kill more than 100,000 people in Japan over three days.
Golding’s experience in the war profoundly affected his view of humanity and the evils of which it was capable. Golding’s work was heavily influenced by the war, and he expressed this in his novel. In Lord of The Flies, Golding paints a picture of the conflict he witnessed – that is the struggle between the ‘civilising’ instinct, to act lawfully, behave with morals and civility – and obey rules and that of the ‘savage’, the person who is violent, acts selfishly and seeks power over others.
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Jack is the perfect example of the change from civility into savagery – as he transforms from being a choir boy to becoming the archetypal villain. Roger, on the other hand, represented the classic sadistic soldier who was allowed to harm others under the guise of war. WW2 was a war of two ideologies, very similar to the conflict between Jack and Ralph. Golding implies that the instinctual and primal power of savagery is much more potent that that of civility, and that, when people are left to their own devices, they are much more likely to gravitate towards savagery and barbarism.
The fatalistic view of humanity that Golding paints and the disintegration of the island society over the course of the novel leads to reader to understand that Golding believes that evil and savagery isn’t just a part of human nature but is a dominant feature that is able to overrule the good in people and extinguish hope. Ralphs actions at the end of the book sum up the key points of the novel as he “wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of a man’s heart”.