Nature or nurture? A question frequently asked but hard to answer or prove. This is where William Golding steps in. He writes a novel about a group of schoolboys stranded on an island, fighting to survive. Instead of acting how they have been taught by society, they turn into a disaster, breaking up into separate groups, having celebrations to hunt pig, and killing each other. In Lord of the Flies, William Golding, inspired by The Coral Island and Paradise Lost, shows the true nature of human beings in a society created by children.
The novel, Lord of the Flies, comes from William Golding’s personal experiences. In 1953, Golding asked his wife, Ann, if she thought it would be a good idea if he wrote a book about the mess boys with no parents would make on an island. She responded that she liked the idea, so Golding sat down and started writing his first novel (Tiger 22). As he started writing this novel, Golding remembered when he had served in the Royal Army during World War II. Those five years taught Golding what humans were actually capable and willing to do. They are also responsible for first interesting him in the evil within humans and barbarism (“Golding”).
Although Golding got many of his themes from what he had witnessed, he also based his plot from a few of his previous readings. Lord of the Flies is considered to be William Golding’s response to R.M. Ballantyne’s, The Coral Island. Like Lord of the Flies, Ballantyne’s novel is based on a group of boys who get shipwrecked and end up stranded on a coral reef island. Although, in The Coral Island the boys make the best of the situation they are in and lead a happy, organized life. Golding calls his novel a “kind of black mass or realistic view of the situation” (Bufkin). Additionally, two of the main characters in both books are name Ralph and Jack. In The Coral Island, one of the characters name is Peterkin, which, in Lord of the Flies is replaced by Peter (Bufkin). This just shows how Golding modeled his novel after Ballantyne’s.
Paradise Lost has also been proven to be one of William Golding’s major influences. Paradise Lost is a series of book written by John Milton. To start off, both of their themes are relating to the fall of man just shown in different situations. Another similarity is the setting. Like Bufkin states,
Golding’s Island, like Milton’s Eden, represents the original earthy paradise where occurs the Fall of Man. That the island is meant to represent this paradise is easily deduced from the following sentence: “The forest re-echoed; and the birds lifted, crying out of the tree-tops, as on that first morning ages ago.”
It is also said, that the killing of the sow by the children, is a re-enactment of the Original Sin in Paradise Lost (Bufkin). Additionally, similar events happen in both and in the same order. First, they exchange names, hold a council, elect a leader and then explore the island. Lastly, many consider the characters of Lord of The Flies to...