Lord of the Flies
William Golding
List all the rules in your life
that you object to or reject
Total freedom?
• Advantages and disadvantages
• Does it exist?
Sir William Golding
• 1911-1993
William Golding
•Born in Cornwall, England
•Educated at Oxford
•His father, Alec Golding was a
Science Master and a socialist
•His mother, Mildred, supported
the campaigns for female suffrage
William Golding
• Listed his hobbies as
•Classical Greek
• Married Bilinda Pluck (1939) and was
the father of two
• English and philosophy teacher
Golding: War Service
• Served in the Royal Navy in WWII
• Involved in the pursuit and sinking of German
battleship, Bismarck
• Participated in the Normandy D-Day invasion,
commanded a battleship/destroyer
• “I began to see what people are capable of
doing…Anyone who moved through those years
without understanding that man produces evil as
a bee produces honey must have been blind or
wrong in the head.” ~ Golding
Golding’s Literary Contributions
• Lord of the Flies ~ 1954
• previously rejected by
21 publishers
• The Inheritors ~ 1955
• Pincher Martin ~ 1956
• Free Fall ~ 1959
• Awarded Nobel Prize for
Literature in 1983
• “his books illuminate the
human condition”
• Knighted by the Queen in
Accepting Nobel from His
Majesty Carl XVI Gustaf, King of
Sweden in 1983
Notes on Golding
• Often writes in allegorical fiction
• Allegory: characters and settings
represent moral concepts, symbolize
human existence
• The novel is an ironic response to
Ballantyne’s Coral Island
• Boys also stranded, optimistic view of
mid-19th century England
Others on Golding
• “Golding’s view is pessimistic: human nature is
inherently violent, which reflects the post-war
and post-Hitler years.”
• “In this book, as in few others at the present
time, are findings of psychoanalysts of all schools,
anthropologists, social psychologists and
philosophical historians mobilized into an attack
upon the central problem of modern thought:
the nature of the human personality and the
reflection of the personality on society.” (Epstein)
Nature of Man
• With Lord of the Flies, “the theme is an attempt to trace the defects of society back
to the defects of human nature “ (Golding)
• Hobbes
• “…continual fear, and danger of violent death;and the life of man, solitary,
poor, nasty, brutish, and short…”
• Men need a common power, “reduce… by plurality of voices unto one will…”
• Locke
• …all men are naturally in a state of total freedom…”
• Civil society, people place power into legislative hands for “lives, liberties and
• Rossueau
• The Social Contract: …”each individual surrenders all his rights without
• “freedom…is obedience to the will of all.”