Theme Of Lord Of The Flies

3047 words - 12 pages

By creating a simple plot that contains much underlying meaning, Golding uniquely conveys the theme of a flawed society is the result of a flawed human nature. The readers are not wasting their time with trying to comprehend the plot and other events in the book; instead, one is fully absorbing Golding’s lesson hidden in the plot. The lesson is that humans are innately evil; therefore, society is flawed. William Golding’s clear writing style juxtaposed with intricate characters and symbolism convey the theme of defective society due to a defective human race in Lord of the Flies.
First, Golding’s motives for writing Lord of the Flies must be identified. Golding describes his impetus for writing this novel as setting “out to discover whether there is that in man which makes him do what he does, that’s all . . .” (Reilly). Golding explains that Lord of the Flies “is an attempt to trace the defects of society back to the defects of human nature. Before the war, most Europeans believed that man could be perfected by perfecting his society. We saw a hell of a lot in the war that can’t be accounted for except on the basis of original evil” (Reilly). Later, in a lecture, Golding explained himself as before World War I he believed good people could create a perfect society. After the war, after seeing calculating, educated men, doctors, lawyers, basically civilized man, torture and kill their fellow human beings, he could only believe that human nature is innately evil. Golding said his book was an extension of his search for “the connection between his (man’s) diseased nature and the international mess he gets himself into” (Spitz). However, as time progressed he believed a little in his former idea that man is good (Spitz).
Furthermore, Golding’s Lord of the Flies is a realist response to Ballantyne’s The Coral Island. In Ballantyne’s story three boys are marooned on secluded island. In fact, Ralph and Jack’s names are derived directly from Ballantyne’s piece. The third character, Peterkin, could be Piggy. However, Golding says he acquired the character of Simon from Peterkin. The boys live in total harmony. They do not suffer from what Golding believes is innate human evilness. Even the ending of The Coral Island is peaceful; the external evil, a tribe of cannibals, ends up embracing Christianity. Golding believes this book is only appropriate reading for the very young or very old. Boys would not actually behave like that in that situation (Dick 6-7).
Golding creates a savage society to convey his theme. He poses the question: Is morality something memorized and conditioned into humans, not something naturally a part of them (Kinkead-Weeks 51)? Society, according to Golding, depends on the ethical nature of each person. Therefore, if nature is evil, then every society is evil, and so every society is rooted in the same thing, and so all societies are basically the same (Spitz). Therefore, society depends upon the goodness...

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