William Golding's Theme

Topics: William Golding, Pincher Martin, Human Pages: 10 (3611 words) Published: May 15, 2009
Golding's Themes
Thesis: A running theme in William Golding's works is that man is savage 

        at heart, always ultimately reverting back to an evil and primitive


     I.  The fall of man

         A.  Lord of the Flies

         B.  The Inheritors


         C.  Free Fall

         D.  Pincher Martin


    II.  Golding as a theologian


         A.  Lord of the Flies

         B.  The Inheritors


         C.  Pincher Martin

   III.  Man's fear

         A.  Lord of the Flies

         B.  The Inheritors


         C.  Pincher Martin

    IV.  The island

Golding's Themes
A running theme in William Golding's works is that man is savage at heart, always ultimately reverting back to an evil and primitive nature. The cycle of man's rise to power, or righteousness, and his inevitable fall from grace is an important point that Golding proves again and again in many of his works, often comparing man with characters from the Bible to give a more vivid picture of his descent. Golding symbolizes this fall in different manners, ranging from the illustration of the mentality of actual primitive man to the reflections of a corrupt seaman in purgatory.  William Golding's first book, Lord of the Flies, is the story of a group of boys of different backgrounds who are marooned on an unknown island when their plane crashes. As the boys try to organize and formulate a plan to get rescued, they begin to separate and as a result of the dissension a band of savage tribal hunters is formed. Eventually the "stranded boys in Lord of the Flies almost entirely shake off civilized behavior: (Riley 1: 119). When the confusion finally leads to a manhunt [for Ralph], the reader realizes that despite the strong sense of British character and civility that has been instilled in the youth throughout their lives, the boys have backpedaled and shown the underlying savage side existent in all humans. "Golding senses that institutions and order imposed from without are temporary, but man's irrationality and urge for destruction are enduring" (Riley 1: 119). The novel shows the reader how easy it is to revert back to the evil nature inherent in man. If a group of well-conditioned school boys can ultimately wind up committing various extreme travesties, one can imagine what adults, leaders of society, are capable of doing under the pressures of trying to maintain world relations. Lord of the Flies's apprehension of evil is such that it touches 

the nerve of contemporary horror as no english novel of its time has 

done; it takes us, through symbolism, into a world of active, 

proliferating evil which is seen, one feels, as the natural condition of 

man and which is bound to remind the reader of the vilest manifestations 

of Nazi regression (Riley 1: 120).
Golding's primary goal in writing Lord of the Flies is to create a readable story that people can relate to that conveys the message that man always reverts back to his savage nature. When he wrote the novel, he was "striving to move behind the conventional matter of the contemporary novel to a view of what man, or pre-man, is like when the facade of civilized behavior falls away" (Riley 1: 119).  The Inheritors is Golding's second book. The death of the leader of a small group of simple-minded Neanderthals reduces their number to seven and the people find themselves tossed into a world with few pictures. The people think in terms of pictures; they have not yet learned to think rational thoughts. Golding labeled the characters with such names as "Fa", "Lok", and "Ha" to emphasize the simplicity of the society. When a new tribe of more advanced people discover the Neanderthals, they see them as devils and try to kill them. However, the Neanderthals are too naive to realize the motives of the new people, and they are only confused when their members begin to disappear. In the end, all of...

Bibliography: Works/Themes/Characters/A view on Ralph/Religious items/ Symbology/Simbolism/ Shared links/General link page/ My essay/
© Juan Javier Herraiz Pujante
            E- Mail: juanhepu@alumni.uv.es
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