Lord of the Flies William Golding
William Golding (1911-1993) • Born in Cornwall, UK • Studied anthropology, archaeology, literature in college • Became a school teacher (1935-1961) • Entered the navy during WWII; participated in the invasion of Normandy on D-Day • Won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1983
Historical Perspective • WWI – the “Great War” or the “War to end all wars” • Can we ever have peace? • WWII – the advent of the atom bomb – power to destroy the world? • Britain feared an invasion and evacuated children to other countries • 1940- A German U-Boat torpedoed a British ship carrying children, killing the boys, thus suspending the oversees evacuation program
On Writing Lord of the Flies “It was simply what seemed sensible for me to write after the war when everyone was thanking God they weren’t Nazis. I’d seen enough to realize that every single one of us could be Nazis.” --William Golding
Lord of the Flies • Published in 1954 • Rejected 21 times before being published! • On the American Library Association’s list of the 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 1990-2000. • Written partially in response to The Coral Island, a story of how people supposedly ascend in their goodness on an island. • Human nature • Duality of man • Nature Vs. Nurture • Good Vs. Evil
Lord of the Flies • Title • Translation of “Beelzebub” or Satan • Setting • A tiny coral island in the South Pacific during a war when the atomic bomb may have (and most likely has) been used. This world becomes their ‘microcosm’, which is definitely one of your symbols! • Plot • A group of young boys is stranded on an island and they must negotiate the social issues of cooperation and self-government • The outside world is consumed with war • Main characters • Ralph, Jack, Piggy, Simon, Sam ‘n Eric
Lord of the Flies • Guiding Questions • Does every human being have a dark side? Are humans inherently good or evil? • What does it mean to be civilized? • Rules of government – democracy vs. dictatorship? What type of government works best? Why? • What are the outcomes when evil is an influence?
Symbols • The island • The conch • Piggy’s glasses • The fire • The “beastie” • The “littluns” • The pig • The names of the boys
Basic Philosophies to Consider While Reading • Humans are inherently evil; society establishes government to curb evil instincts • “We all saw a hell of a lot in the war that can’t be accounted for except on the basis of original evil” • Humans are inherently good; humans are born good and are corrupted by society • Humans are inherently neutral; our experiences determine the balance between good and evil • Which do you agree/disagree with now? Choose the one with the closet alignment to your own ideas.
Golding’s Literary Technique • Heavy use of symbolism • Irony • Figurative Language Simile Metaphor Personification • Abundant imagery and sensory detail • Allusions (references to stories, names, history outside the text)
Allusions • Use of the names Ralph and Jack as the main characters from The Coral Island. • Simon from the Bible “Simon called Peter”, Peter was the other boy’s name in TheCoral Island • Mention of Coral Island and TreasureIsland • Numerous biblical allusions throughout
Lord of the Flies in Pop Culture • In Hook, Robin Williams compares Lost Boys to savages in LOTF • The Simpsons episode “Das Bus” is a parody • Inspiration for the anime series Infinite Ryvius • Mel Gibson’s 2006 movie Apocalypto has a similar ending. • T.V. shows Survivor and Lost are said to have been inspired from LOTF • 2006 movie Unaccompanied Minors makes reference to LOTF
Popular Culture Cont. • Stephen King uses the name “Castle Rock” (from the novel) as the name of a town in his books. He also makes reference to LOTF in the novels The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, Cujo and Hearts in Atlantis • Orson Scott Card makes reference in his novel, Ender’s Shadow. • Degrassi: The Next Generation, DannyPhantom, The Daily Show all mention the novel
Source of Inspiration to Musicians • Musicians U2, Iron Maiden, Gatsby’s American Dream, Nine Inch Nails, Tori Amos, A.F.I., and Danielle Dax have all recorded songs about the novel. Titles such as: “Where the Flies Are” “Touch Piggy’s Eyes” “Lord of the Flies” “Piggy “Fable” “Boy” “Shadows and Tall Trees”
Sources Cited • http://www.william-golding.co.uk/ • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Golding