When William Golding’s The Lord of the Flies is mentioned in casual conversation, one rarely finds someone that hasn’t read it, but this was not always the case. At what point did Golding’s allegorical masterpiece get recognized? In the 1950s, Golding had just finished his book, calling it Strangers from Within. The book’s influences range from the horrendous children from his teaching years to himself and his nearly pedophilic instincts (Dirda 2, Roberts 2). His dream had always been to be a writer, and he finally succeeded at the publication of this book, one of the many he created. He struggled to write while doing other jobs, such as teaching. He had to put off his works once he joined the Royal Navy. Although he prospered in the war, he yearned to write, so while he taught after the war, he also wrote his book in his free time. His book received a little recognition in the beginning, hardly even managing to get published at first. By the end of his lifetime, Golding was widely recognized for his book with millions reading his book all over the world. Bringing a new meaning to the definition and ideals behind savagery, Golding’s Lord of the Flies brings a new light to the instinctual primitiveness of humankind.
The parallels in Golding’s own life and his book allow the reader to have a new understanding of Golding and how he relates to the book. Golding’s many life experiences gave him the knowledge he needed to be able to relate to fictional children as an adult. In the beginning of his career, Golding had no steady job; in fact, once he graduated from college after switching his degree from science to English, he had already considered being an actor, a poet, or a pianist as a career (Dirda 2). He soon discovered he was not able to support himself nor a family on these potential salaries. Shortly after his marriage with a woman named Ann Brookfield, Golding chose to be a teacher at Bishop Wordsworth’s School in Salisbury (Roberts 4). At the time, he sported the look of a scruffy, decrepit version of Albert Einstein, giving him the nickname “Scruff” (Roberts 4). The gibes and jeers from his students influenced the cruelty and savageness of the children in the book.
His own life experiences greatly influenced the book. Golding possessed an evil during his younger life that he later wrote about and utilized in his book. As a young man, Golding cared for little, not even others’ rights. He attempted to rape a young lady, yelling slurs at her when she refused (Roberts 1). His evil influences continued to ruminate, even after he married, but from a new source. He turned to alcoholism, eventually leading to his untimely death. (Roberts 1). These urges he experienced fueled the primitive instincts and evil motives the boys experienced in the book.
Golding’s fantastic background on mythology is said to have had an impact on the allegorical ideals of the book. One common ideal bases itself off of the stories in the Bible. Simon, the...