The Lord of the Flies is a standard read in American high schools, because of the deep philosophical meaning that William Golding, the author, crafted it with. Golding was a philosopher who believed that all humans are evil and only civilization is keeping mankind from descending into savagery. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, however, said that humans had an innate sense of compassion, and goodness. Golding’s novel, The Lord of the Flies, expertly shows Golding’s view of the world and human nature. I, personally, think that Golding’s thoughts on humankind are more correct than Rousseau’s, though I don’t agree with everything that he wrote. Rousseau and Golding have different views of mankind, but both philosophies influenced The Lord of the Flies, and that is why it is a classic novel that is still read today.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau was a philosopher and composer who lived in 18th century Geneva, and was famous for his belief in the goodness of human nature. Rousseau proposed that humans are innately good, and that all corruption is a result of human society. Without rules, he believed, the “savage man” would still have compassion, and not wish to kill anything unless entirely necessary. (Jones, voices.yahoo.com) Rousseau’s positive outlook on human nature is believed to have stemmed from the cultural explosion that happened during the Enlightenment, which occurred during his lifetime.
William Golding was born in 1911 in England, and grew up to be a prolific writer, philosopher, and poet. (Nobel Media, nobelprize.org) His most well-known novel, The Lord of the Flies, accurately depicts his philosophy on the evilness of man. Golding believed very different things from Rousseau, but was heavily influenced by him, though the Frenchman lived almost 150 years prior to his birth. While Rousseau wrote that society corrupted man, Golding wrote that society was the only thing keeping man from reverting back to an animal-like, savage state. Rousseau lived during a glorious time for man, an explosion of innovations and art, but Golding lived in a war torn world, and his philosophies reflect that turmoil.
The Lord of the Flies is wrought with symbolism and Golding’s beliefs. The novel places the characters in a setting such that the boys are completely immersed in nature, entirely separated from civilization. Golding demonstrates that the only thing holding back the boys from savagery is their past, “Round the squatting child was the protection of parents and school and policemen and the law.”...