Archive for the ‘Wiliam Golding: Lord of the Flies’ Category

Lord of the flies – Conclusion

December 30, 2009

About the book in general

I’ve finished reading the book now which though wasn’t as easy as I expected after having read the first chapter.  The pages really claimed my attention and concentration which was streneous but simultaneously very good because I was much more immersed in the story than I often am. It’s one of the few books I read in their “native language” but I think I should do so more often because the original message isn’t falsified by translation. I definitely liked the book a lot because it’s imaginative, thrilling, instructive and interesting at the same time. To me, Simon is the most mysterious and interesting character in the book which is verified by his role when he faces the Lord of the flies.

About Golding’s spelling style

I think that Golding is a fantastic author because he manages to describe situations in a way that the reader’s fantasy can already guess the consecutive plot before something happens and this makes the whole story terribly exciting. He knows how to captivate his readers and although the material of the story (boys on an isolated island without adults) doesn’t seem very inventive, new and suspenseful, he creates a fetching story which keeps the reader busy also for the time after having read the book. Golding also wrote about his novel and a few sentences express exactly what impresses me so much about the book: “The fabulist is a moralist. He cannot make a story without a human lesson tucked away in it. [...] By the nature of his craft then, the fabulist is didactic, desires to inculcate a moral lesson. People do not much like moral lessons. The pill has to be sugared, has to be witty or entertaining, or engaging in some way or another. [...] If the pill is not sufficiently sugared it will not be swallowed.” I am convinced that Golding’s pill is sugared enough. You get the moral of Lord of the flies but you aren’t annoyed or bored in any time. In my opinion, Golding absolutely manages to fulfil his one expectations of a “good reading” with Lord of the flies.

About the chapters

At the end, I also want to tell you the headings of each chapter because I really liked them due to their imagery and of course also because they give a very short and simple overview. I will copy them as they’re originally written.

1. The Sound of the Shell     Arrival on the island, the conch, Ralph as chief

2. Fire on the Mountain     First assembly, rules, signal fire on top of the mountain

3. Huts on the Beach     Building of shelters, first conflicts, Simon’s special role is striking

4. Painted Faces and Long Hair     Begin to become savages, littluns torture each other, hunting game becomes serious

5. Beast from Water     Serious problems between Ralph and Jack, Ralph wants to give up, littluns scared of beast out of the water

6. Beast from Air     Dead parachutist scares them a lot, no fire on the mountain anymore

7. Shadows and Tall Trees     Struggle for authority between Ralph and Jack, they see the “beast” on the mountain

8. Gift for the Darkness     Escalation of competition between Ralph and Jack, Jack separates from the group, others follow, head of the sow as gift

9. A View to a Death     Simon is killed after he had verified the “real beast”, Jack’s tribe is savage, incantations

10. The Shell and the Glasses     Ralph remains with three biguns, Jack’s tribe steals Piggy’s glasses, hard fight

11. Castle Rock     Violent fight between Jack and Ralph, Piggy is killed by Roger

12. Cry of the Hunters     The savages hunt Ralph over the whole island, they set island on fire, rescue by ship

About the topics and ideas the book wants to convey

Being faced with the problem of survival, the boys try to form a responsible democratic society which, however, degenerates into anarchy, violence and terror. I collected different statements, quotations and also my personal interpretation.

Lord of the flies reveals the potentiality of evil in any society and shows the end of innocence and the darkness of man’s heart.

Lord of the flies has been described as an adventure story or fantasy, a frightening parody, a parable, fable or allegory of symbolic value which represents important philosophical, political and psychological issues of today. (Dieter Smolka)

In addition to the main theme there is the theme “Fear of the Unknown”, because the boy’s fear of the unknown leads to their fear of the beast. Another key issue is the “Loss of Identity”. The boys loose their individual identity when the older children just become known as the “biguns”, and the younger become known as the “littluns”. They are not known by their names anymore, but just as a whole group. When the hunters paint their faces and kill pigs, they are losing their individualism, and becoming part of a group mentality of savagery. Two twins, named Sam and Eric, “combine” personalities as “SamnEric.” (as I also commented before). They no longer are known as two separate individuals, but as one person who can no longer separate Sam and Eric. 

Lord of the flies shows how easily we forget our human origin and civilized habits and begin to torture others just because we fear for own life. It reminds us to retain humanity, care and love. We also mustn’t forget the dangers of political dictatorship and systems in general because in many countries democracy is still very weak. The fight between Ralph and Jack can be transmitted into the clash between democracy and fascism. The boys on the island actually do the same as the adults in their atomic war! – Fighting against each other instead of staying together and become stronger. We should learn to control ourselves or at least our selfish aims, to enjoy the fantastic life we can live here and to estimate friendship and relationships. In my opinion, Lord of the flies has to be seen as a critical novel towards society and politics. (Caro)

About parallelism to Ballantyne’s The Coral Island

Golding both parallels and parodies the classic adventure story The Coral Island (-> see link earlier). Three boys are shipwrecked somewhere in the South Seas on an uninhabited coral island. Ballantyne also raises the problem of evil but whereas Golding finds evil in the boys’ own nature, it comes from the outside world in Ballantyne’s story. Maybe Golding really wanted to create theses parallels and differences, maybe not. But that he’s aware of them is shown by his own naming in form of the naval officer at the very end of the story.

About the Lord of the flies

“Lord of the flies” is a literal translation of the word Beelzebub. But I think that the Lord of the flies isn’t a symbol for the Devil or anything else, but an object onto which the boys project the fear and hatred and evil that aren’t supernatural but rather a part of themselves and of human nature generally. When Simon approaches the Lord of the flies he insists that it’s no more than a pig’s head on a stick. The episode is a symbolic representation of the conflict between the highest and lowest impulses in man. The Lord of the flies is explaining that there is no sense in hunting and killing the beast. It answers the question why the civilization of the boys is a failure. The destructive element is in the boys themselves. The story needs the Lord of the flies to teach the reader what the real problems of the boys are.

Criticism

The novel is rather pessimistic and I sometimes thought that it’s quite noncredible and exaggerated how the boys act.

There are no women in the story. Why did they obviously only rescue British school BOYS from nuclear world war???

For me, it was a bit too bloody and violently described.

Additional material

Concerning the plot, I discovered a short cartoon which shows quite well what happens. I’m sorry that it’s a bit too small, but maybe you can enlarge it on your computer.

http://www.content-resources.co.uk/images/p1_lord_flies.jpg

http://www.content-resources.co.uk/images/pg2_Lord_Flies.jpg

I think it’s quite good for everybody who doesn’t want to read the whole plot ;).

I also found a quite good trailer to one of the movies which can be seen under this link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V9r8Q2E0cTM&feature=related

Thanks a lot for reading my blog, I hope you enjoyed it! Caro

Lord of the flies – The plot V (the end)

December 30, 2009

 

Chapter 10-12

 

During the next night Jack and two of his fellows attack Ralph’s group, who only consists of Ralph, Piggy, Sam and Eric and some littluns, and steal Piggy’s glasses in order to make fire. Ralph would have given fire to Jack voluntarily but as always they don’t try out the peaceful version of acting. Therefore, Ralph’s group goes to the rock fort of Jack’s tribe in order to get back Piggy’s glasses so that he can see something again. In the meantime, Piggy’s dependent on somebody leading him. Ralph and Jack start a hard fight against each other in which Ralph is injured by Jack’s spear. In this confrontation Piggy holds up the conch and demands to speak. Out of curiosity, everyone listens. “Which is better,” he says, “law and rescue, or hunting and breaking things up?” Then by dropping a rock, which strikes Piggy, Roger kills him. Like Simon’s, Piggy’s dead body is washed away by the sea.

 

Sam and Eric are captured by Jack’s tribe and both have to become part of it. Ralph is alone now and flees desperately to hide himself in the forest. He talks to Samneric once more while they are guarding the entry of the fort for Jack but they don’t alarm the others. They seem to be loyal.

 

In the final sequence of the book, Jack and his friend Roger lead the tribe of ‘hunters’ on a hunt for Ralph, intending to kill him. Samneric has given away the secret where Ralph hides. In order to catch Ralph Jack sets the entire island on fire. The fire is so large that it attracts the attention of a nearby warship which comes to the island. Ralph’s life is safed by the arrival of a naval officer from this ship. In the distance, the cruiser waits to return all the boys home to civilization.

 

After Simon’s death, Ralph seems to be broken. The four biguns who are left over consider the murder of Simon an “accident” and they betray themselves by pretending that they left the feast earlier before the deathly dance began. The four of them try to eliminate these thoughts from their minds but Ralph’s containment seems to be collapsed to me. He realizes about the real “beast” (=themselves -> see “The plot IV”) now, too and the boys loose themselves step by step. Ralph really becomes mad. He has something like a “curtain” falling down in front of his mind so that he can’t think clearly anymore. You, as the reader, get scared of Ralph, too and you don’t know who’s crazier: Jack or Ralph. I asked myself several times what the curtain might be and where it comes from.

 

The members of Jack’s tribe are even called “savages” in the book. They become more and more savage and uncontrolled because Jack forces them to show their savage sides. They also negate Simon’s murder. But when they attack the rest of the further group it becomes clear that also Ralph and the others have problems of staying civilized. Eric and Ralph fight bloodily against each other and they don’t notice it until the fight’s over. Jack steals Piggy’s glasses which, in my opinion, is the worst act how he could destroy Piggy’s dignity.

 

The fire is significantly through the whole story as Ralph tells them all the time because they need smoke to be rescued. But in chapter ten, they admit the first time the double function of the fire: they also need it to feel safe and to have a bit of comfort until they fall asleep. The curtain in Ralph’s brain even makes him forget the sense of the fire.

 

From the first lines of chapter eleven on, I was really excited about the end. The tension is steadily rising and it was hard for my nerves not to skip to the end of the book but stick to reading line after line.

 

Golding arrives in writing in a very pictured way so that the reader is part of the story. When I read the lines “Piggy clutching the ground was trying to attract Ralph’s attention.” I was quite sure that something has to happen to him and my terribly expectations were unfortunately fulfilled. I was almost trembling when the murder happens. With Piggy the last spark of brain and humanity dies.

 

Their living conditions are restricted by their fear. The fear of the beast on the mountain keeps them away from its top and from lightning the fire up there. The fear of the darkness restricts the area where they dare to move freely at night. The fear of the others destroys their community and the hope to pass time on the island peacefully and at its best until the rescuing ship arrives.

 

Roger becomes a double of Jack and as it often appears even tries to be more terrible and great and authoritarian than his idol. At first, I thought of Samneric to be loyal to Ralph although they were forced to join Jack’s tribe. But then they give away the secret where Ralph hides and this destroyed my last hopes of loyalty, real friendship and the “good” in the boys.

 

In the end, you really fight together with Ralph for his life. He is hunted like an animal and you can almost feel his pain and panic and his only aim to survive the mad development of things. And you’re also personally released when the naval officer appears and you can give responsibility into the hands of a grown-up who even seems to be very thoughtful, understanding and intelligent. I love the last page when the officer – after learning from the boys’ activities – tells them that he would have expected better from British boys and Golding describes how the whole tension, stress and horror falls apart from the boys, they show their emotions and they can return to being what they simply and only are: young British school boys.

Lord of the flies – The plot IV

December 29, 2009

Chapter 8 + 9

Downcast, Ralph thinks that there is no possibility to kill the beast. “What about my hunters?” Jack asks him. “Boys armed with sticks.” Ralph replies sarcastically whereupon Jack feels insulted. After he has informed the others about the beast he twists Ralph’s words saying that he accused his hunters of being cowards. Subsequent to the assembly Jack leaves and is later joined by loyal followers. He considers himself as the new chief. Based on the existence of the beast, the boys begin to split in two groups: The original one under Ralph’s leadership and the new one, who is lead by Jack.

Jack’s group wants meat and when they have killed a pig they leave its head as a gift for the beast. Then they go away and Simon, who observed everything, sees flies buzzing around the pig’s head. This head – the Lord of the Flies – seems to speak to Simon: “Fancy thinking the Beast was something you could hunt and kill! You knew, didn’t you? I’m part of you? Close, close, close!” Simon begins to realize that there is no real beast in the forest.

The hunters come to the camp again in order to steal fire, because they don’t have any. Jack attracts defectors from Ralph’s tribe by promising them meat from hunting, fun, and – most important – protection from the beast.

In the forest, Simon wanders off again – this time to the mountaintop – and verifies that what others thought was a beast is really something else: a dead parachutist. He wants to tell everyone immediately.

Piggy and Ralph, who are alone now, decide to go to Jack’s party “to make sure nothing happens.” But they both get involved into a ritual of Jack’s group, who becomes more and more savage, and as Simon walks out of the forest he is considered as the beast because of the storm, the thunder and the flashing lights. In a moment, the dancers are upon him, poking sticks, clawing, biting and tearing – Simon dies.

At the moment when Jack suffers defeat another time (by nobody raising his hand to decant Ralph as chief) it was clear to me that this is the trigger for the break of the group. Jack can’t stand staying under Ralph’s rule anymore and he leaves. Some boys who weren’t brave enough to show their disobedience in front of Ralph follow him secretly. The lot around Jack forms a “hunter tribe” and their only aim is to have fun and meat. While hunting they choose a mother sow as their victim which shows how crude and dead heartened they became.

They impale the head of the sow as a gift for the beast which becomes the “Lord of the flies” because it seems to be superior to all the flies which fly around in the hot air and torture the boys – especially Simon who sees it. You get the impression that Simon becomes mad because he talks with the dead sow hear. Now I also know about Simon’s special role in the story. Something breaks him (it’s shown in the story by the sentence “the usual brightness in his eyes had disappeared”) and Simon seems to be the only boy who really knows what’s the real beast for them – they are it themselves by suspecting, mobbing and torturing each other. So there is no beast in the forest, Simon realizes; there is only the beast inside the boys–the evil that has been gradually corrupting them.

It’s fateful and horrible that the boys kill Simon when he is coming to release them from their fear of the beast because he knows now that it’s the dead parachutist. It’s a terrible moment in the book in which dominates an eldritch atmosphere created by the boys chant: “Kill the beast! Cut his throat! Spill his blood!” To me it seemed like an incantation which uncoupled the boys’ acting from their reasonable thoughts. The scene shows so clearly that the boys are becoming mad about staying alone and with now diversion on this small island. The isolation on the island seems to generate the old drives of mankind as hunters and collectors and lets the boys forget their knowledge about civilization.

Lord of the flies – The plot III

December 28, 2009

Chapter 5-7

That evening, Ralph calls a meeting to restore discipline and respect for the rules everybody has to stick to. Furthermore he decides that there will only be one fire – the signal fire, and to allay growing fears, Ralph declares that there are no beasts to be afraid of; there are only overactive imaginations. Piggy, who also does’t believe in a beast or ghosts, adds: “What are we? Humans? Or animals? Or savages?” In think that this might become the central question in the consecutive plot!

Overnight there is another plane crash and a parachutist falls down to the island. Nearby, Sam and Eric (=Samneric) hear strange noises and as they investigate in the dawn, they perceive the dead parachutist hanging in the tree as a beast. Due to this the twins awake Ralph and there is an assembly. Now Ralph and Piggy are convinced that there is a beast either. The only one who doubts is Simon but he has not got the courage to speak.

Although the boys are all terribly frightened, they realize they must hunt and kill the beast. But when they are in the forest they do not find the beast and notice that the signal fire is dead again.

The boys don’t want to follow Ralph’s rules anymore. They have a lot of ideas how they could spend their time more “useful” with rolling rocks and their activities which consist of hunting and rolling rocks develop into a quite serious fight.

Later they climb the mountain to the signal fire. There, like Sam and Eric before them, Jack, Ralph, and Roger hear noises and see the monster. It is, of course, the dead parachutist, whose body still hangs between the rock and the tree. The don’t want to go up the mountain anymore so they transfer the fire to the beach.

At the beginning of chapter 5, Ralph, the protagonist, shows a quite philosophical and maybe also a bit depressive side of his character. He has to fight firmly with himself and his duty of being chief. He helds a great speech in front of the assembly but his position is subverted by the others, especially by Jack. The rules fall apart because the boys realize that times have changed. They know that there’s no punishment for them and they become suspicious and scared of each other.

The boys are all frightened but they don’t want to admit it. Ralph has to go on being chief in order to protect the others from Jack who is very brutal and reckless. Ralph is always fighting to keep up his position against Jack. He has to prove that he has the authority so he has to go first to the “castle” (see on the picture from the island) where they suppose the beast at first. The boys become rebellious and militant. They want to build up a fort and they become bloodthirsty. The game they play with one of them acting a pig develops into a serious matter and it seems like they have lost their facility of assessment.

Ralph is the first and only person of whom you get to know something about his further life. He day-dreams and misses his past especially concerning banal things like cutting his hair or having a bath. But I guess that for him these are the facts that make up civilization and being a human and he feels that he is exactly loosing these things.

I’m still wondering about Simon’s role in the story. He is scared of talking in front of the others although he has good ideas and seems to calculate most of the positions correctly. He has a secret place only for his own and the reader finds out that he foresees certain happenings. He is also brave but very retentive. But he’s the only one who dares to walk through the jungle alone!

The parachutist who crashes on the island is the main interest for the boys now. It’s a sign from the grown-up’s world and Golding uses it to show how scared and despaired the boys really are. They always try to act bravely and be strong and fearless but the appearance of this “beast” reveals their true emotional state.

It’s striking that special birds are used as imagery in path breaking situations. I realize that through the whole book. It also delivers historical background information for example about “Berengaria” who rescued her husband by sucking his wound from a poisoned arrow. I love this fact because it extends the general education of the reader.

Lord of the flies – The plot II

December 27, 2009

Chapter 2-4

Ralph quickly calls everyone together by blowing the conch to fix rules and to work out two common goals: the first being to have fun and the second to be rescued by creating a fire signal. He encourages the others by saying that his father, a Navy man, will rescue them. When it is decided that someone must maintain the fire and continually create smoke visible at a distance, Jack volunteers to have some of his hunters take on this task. The assembly is all for igniting a huge fire. They climb the mountain and with the help of Piggy’s spectacles the dry leaves inflame easily. The wood is burnt down at once and the fire spreads through a huge part of the jungle what they didn’t foresee.

When the boys start to build huts, all work enthusiastically at first. But then many gradually drop out to swim, play games, or search for fruit. “All day I’ve been working with Simon,” Ralph tells Jack who returns from hunting after a few days. But when he asks him for help, Jack says he has to pay attention in getting meat.

The group divides into three parts with “generic titles”: the littluns (=little ones) and biguns (=big ones) and three boys in between; namely Simon, Robert and Maurice. The littluns have nightmares and fear snakes on the island. They miss their mothers and try to get by in spite of stomach ache and diarrhoea. It seems that “the island isn’t good”.

The next day Ralph sees the silhouette of a ship on the horizon but then Piggy recognizes that there is no smoke from the fire on top of the mountain. As they arrive at the fire they see that it is dead and the ship disappears. Thus Ralph takes Jack, who returns triumphantly from the hunt, to talk angrily. Tempers finally cool down when they eat the pig Jack had killed while he actually should have cared about the fire.

Ralph seems very adult for being 12 years old. He enjoys the assemblies and his talks because he feels the power of a kind of propaganda, agreement from others and megalomania. He has problems with disobedience and he thinks that he is struggling for the really important things alone. I love the fact that Ralph stands on his head if he rejoices :D – it’s another point which shows that they’re only children although the whole situation can easily be transmitted on adults!

The relationship between Jack and Ralph contains many possibilities of conflict. They always waver between friendship and competition and they are linked to each other in many ways. The first serious uproar is on the mountain when Ralph considers Jack responsible for the dead fire. I’m curious what might happen between the two later on.

The children, except of Piggy, can’t foresee the consequences of their acting (e.g. the burning in the forest). Piggy is reasonable and very intelligent but he is an outsider because of his outer appearance. The book criticizes a lot of problems of society in general if you read between the lines. Piggy isn’t allowed to talk while he holds the conch, as it should be according to the rules. When they’ve lost one boy in the fire it becomes clear that their life there isn’t a game. The boys change under the conditions on the island and their savage and more brutal characteristics appear. They try to put the blame on others – a typical reaction if nothing works out and everybody is dissatisfied. The littluns begin to torture each other and the biguns are bad idols. The reader gets to know new characters by name like the littluns Henry, Johnny and Percival what gives them a kind of importance whereas the twins Sam and Eric loose their significance as individuals by the name “Samneric”.

The school-boys have a lot of difficulties to adapt to their new rhythm of life dictated by nature. Piggy uncovers their desire for the British lifestyle by proposing a sundial in order to have the day organised. The nature plays a big role in the story and is described very detailed.

All of them are still blocked by their knowledge of civilization implanted by their parents, by school and by law. But this blockade disappears step by step what can be seen best at Jack’s behaviour of hunting and painting his face in protective mimicry. The masks liberate them from shame and self-consciousness. It’s a dangerous development.

Lord of the flies contains many parallels to “The Coral Island” by R.M. Ballantyne (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Coral_Island). It seems to be the positive analogue to my book – I think I will discuss this point later at the conclusion.

Lord of the flies – The plot

December 26, 2009

First of all, I wish you a Merry Christmas – I hope you had a few relaxing and silent days and you’re enjoying your holidays.

Before I start with the book itself, I want to explain my “Blog-system” to you in a few words: you can read the consecutive plot in straight letters – as far as I’m advancing, too – and my thoughts, feelings or comments in cursive letters.

In general

Lord of the Flies, Golding’s first novel, was first published in 1954 and since then has become a classic of modern literature. Although it wasn’t a great success at the time it soon has become a bestseller. Nowadays, it’s part of the English lessons in many schools and colleges as a “reading which has to be read”.

The allegorical novel consists of twelve chapters. It discusses how culture created by man fails, using the example of a group of British school-boys who are living on an uninhabited island. Of necessity, they try to govern themselves with terrible results.

Chapter 1 – Arrival on the island

The reader dives into the story with an open beginning. Two boys, Ralph and Piggy, are introduced as they meet under the hot sun at a place where the jungle around them is destroyed . You get to know that they are evacuated by plane from the dangers of nuclear world war. The plane crashed on a tropical remote and isolated island somewhere in the Pacific. Before the tide dragged the wreck out to sea (causing a “scar” on the landscape where Ralph and Piggy meet) they could get out of it. They are uncertain whether there are other survivors, but after Ralph found a conch shell and blew into it, it turns out that there are no adults, but many British school boys between 6 and 12 years old including a group of choir singers with its leader Jack Merridew.
According to the rules of civilization taught at school, they assemble to choose a leader and Jack nominates himself. But Ralph, the holder of the conch, which is perceived as a symbol of authority, gets the majority of votes. To becalm Jack Ralph appoints him and his choirboys as hunters. When Ralph, Jack, and another boy, Simon, explore the inland they realize that they are really on an island and that there is meat in form of pigs.

I only advanced to the first chapter which is a quite long one! I really like Golding’s style of writing because it’s clear and straightforward and therefore easy to read. I also love the imagery which appears quite often – it keeps the story very lively. The characters are described affectionately detailed so that you can imagine the boys very well. I like Piggy the most because he attracts the readers’ pity at once and seems to be a weak victim of all the others. But he’s underestimated because he seems very intelligent and far-seeing to me.

The open beginning and the rising tension even in the first chapter promise an exciting plot and various problems. There’s also a lot of foreshadowing concerning conflicts between the boys. The description of the boys lets think of polarising characters. The first problem appears between Ralph and Piggy, when Ralph misuses Piggy’s confidence by telling the others the nickname “Piggy” what he wanted to conceal. I was shocked by the cruelty and brutal behaviour they show against each other. It creates an atmosphere of fighting-to-survive-regardless-of-others and Darwinism (surviving of the fittest). After the first pages, you realize that there’s a permanent struggle between hostility and friendship, democracy and dictatorship and obedience and disobedience.

Although the boys try to rule themselves, it becomes clear that they’re only children. They vote for their chief without any obviously rational reasons. They simply trust their feelings and you can guess a lot of pressure created by the whole group (that’s probably why Piggy raises his hand for Ralph unwillingly). In addition, they aren’t accustomed to the life in the wildness as Jack’s problem of killing the pig reveals. The conch becomes a symbol of authority which is also transmitted by the description of its look.

I’m looking forward to chapter two. The outstanding position of Ralph, Jack and Simon might arouse problems and Simon attracted my attention by being depicted different than the others.

In order to give you an idea of the setting, I want to publish a picture of how the island might look like. The weather there is hot and sunny and it offers necessities to support life like for example fresh water, fruit, and something to eat in the form of pigs. The island is shaped like a boat, has a forest, two small mountains and a sandy beach. 

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

November 1, 2009

William Golding’s life and work

William Golding was born in St Columb Minor in Cornwall, on 19th September 1911. Like his elder brother Joseph, he was educated at Marlborough Grammar School, where his father was a teacher. After school, he studied science and English in Oxford, from which he graduated in 1935. Apart from writing, he was interested in music (he played several instruments) and sailing. In 1939, he married Ann Brookfield and had two children with her. As a member of the Royal Navy, serving as a lieutenant commanding a rocket-firing ship, he took part in the Normandy landings on D-Day in 1944.

After the Second World War he became a teacher for English and Philosophy. From 1935 until 1940 and again from 1945 to 1954 he worked in small theatre companies as writer, actor and director.

The book that brought him international fame and popularity had an unpromising start. The novel Lord of the flies was rejected by several publishers before it came out in 1954. The novel became a standard on college and high school reading lists. It’s a number one classic of modern literature and also inspired two excellent films (Lord of the flies from 1963 and 1990). You can also find extracts from the plot in one sequence of The Simpsons.

In 1983 William Golding won the Nobel Prize for Literature and he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1988. Although he was mainly a novelist, his writing also included short stories, dramas, essays and poems. He was best known for his themes of the struggle between good and evil (related to Lord of the flies) and for symbolism that invited interpretations on many levels.

Although his succeeding works never matched Lord of the flies in sales, they continued to win close critical attention (e.g. The Inheritors, The Spire, Close Quarters, To the Ends of Earth and many more).

On his 80th birthday he looked back on his work and said that he still had to write the ultimate novel and his best book. Sir William Golding, the great visionary writer and one of literature’s great moralists, died of a heart attack at his home in Perranarworthal, Cornwall, on 19th June 1993.

I want to end my blog about the author with one quotation which impressed me a lot and which I consider absolutely right: “Words may, through the devotion, the skill, the passion and the luck of writers, prove to be the most powerful thing in the world.” William Golding


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