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"Lord of the Flies" -"Mans Essential Sickness"

Reading against victorian optimism and to the horrors of the 20th century William Golding chose to express his anti-utopian views about humanity in "Lord of the Flies". Explore how Golding crafts his narrative in order to voice his philosophical view

Reading against Victorian optimism and to the horrors of the 20th century William Golding chose to express his anti-utopian views about humanity in ?Lord of the Flies? (1955). Explore how Golding crafts his narrative in order to voice his philosophical views about ?mans essential sickness? to what extent do you agree with his views?

In this essay I will explore how Golding expresses his philosophical views about mankind into ?Lord of the flies? and explain in detail and explore his dystopian beliefs on mankind in the 20th century.

William Golding was born in Cornwall in 1911, he was educated at Marlborough grammar school and at Brasnose College, Oxford after which worked as an actor, a lecturer, a small craft sailor, a musician and finally became a schoolmaster. A row of rare volume, poems, appeared in 1934. He joined the navy in 1940, and fought against battleships, submarines and aircraft. He finished the war as a lieutenant in control of a roeber ship. He wrote his first novel ? Lord of the Flies? which was published in 1954, at Sailsbury School. He gave up teaching and went on to write twelve more novels including ?The Inheritors? and ?The Spire?.

Golding?s hobbies included music, archaeology and classical Greek (which he taught himself) He won the Booker Prize for his novel ?Rites of Passage? in 1980, and was awarded the Noble Prize for Literature in 1983. He was knighted in 1988 and unfortunately died in his home in the year 1993, leaving a draft of, ?The Double Tongue? which was published posthumously.

When viewing the world on television, the starving children, the wars, one cannot help but think that there evil in this day and age. However, people in society must be aware that evil is not an external force on society as Jean Jacques Rousseau believed but is within each person. Man has both good qualities and faults. In the novel ?Lord of the Flies?, William Golding deals with this same evil which exists in all of his characters. With his literary tools as structure and imagery, the author creates a deep, sinister tone to portray his own views of the ?mans essential sickness?.

The use of structure and narrative is powerful, with the use of very descriptive language which makes his piece sometimes hard to grasp. Golding creates tension and reinforces his theme and tone with the use of specific words. Golding uses colours such as pink to symbolize particular things such as innocence,. The word yellow makes you think of Simon therefore bringing forward innocence again; the words black and red bring to mind evil, blood and Jack. The conch comes to symbolize authority and order. With this symbolic language, Golding creates oxymorons such as the ?torrid sun? to the night which makes everything ?dim and strange?. Golding also uses dark words such as "dark", "broken", "torrid", "coarse" and "splintered" to describe sinister things and create more disturbing and vicious surroundings . Although Golding's language is at times simple, he is capable of carrying the reader to his pink coral island and to the little boys and their losing battle against internal iniquity. This is a sign of how Golding?s philosophical views come into play he points to the fact that he does not believe in a utopia as a perfect society would be of no use since mankind is not perfect. Pulling at the fact he feels anyone can be evil no matter of there up brining, this is brought through Jack and Roger who both become in turn instantly bad.

The use of imagery is gripping. As described in the previous paragraph the use of specific words only thrusts the reader into a world of evil. Golding uses imagery to describe the scenery and the setting. A good example occurs in the first passage where Golding writes, ?there was a strip of weed-strewn beach that was almost as firm as a road. A kind of glamour was spread over them and the scene and they were conscious of the glamour and made happy by it.? This creates a world for the reader, to be thrown into thinking about every twig every branch. The description of the boy?s first meeting with the island is the beginning of the evil. For example Jack ?stood there among the skull-like coconuts? and the talk about the ?scar? Once again the imagery throws the reader into a world of death also Golding uses the imagery to personify things in order to make them even more evil then they already are, ?the heart of flame leapt nimbly across? and ?the fire growled at them? these lines make believe that the fire is a living organism therefore bringing more evil into the already strickened world. The passage about the ?Lord of the Flies? with ?Simon? also uses imagery to convey the evil on the island and at the same time conveys the innocencts of ?Simon? ?The head remained there, dim-eyed, grinning faintly, blood blackened between the teeth.? and the forest is even described as a minion of the devil ?for a moment or two the forest and all the other dimly appreciated places echoed with the parody of laughter?. This tool of literature was used to its fullest extent in order to further Golding?s theme of man?s essential sickness.

Golding conveys his theme by using detail to slide in words and phrases that lend themselves to describe the essential sickness of every boy on the island. As shown in the above paragraphs Golding describes coconuts as ?skulls? and personifies fire bringing it to life and the ability to growl at the young boys. Golding also pays a great attention to detail when he describes the murder and death of the different animals on the island, including Simon and Piggy. On page 135 the vivid scene is described as Jack and his hunters ?hurled themselves at her? and on page 149 when the boys symbolically lose there innocence as this is more of a rape than a kill ?Right up her ass? the whole passages just comes alive with the sickening heat of that ?sticky summer day?. His attention to detail helps bring forward the sadistic nature of man; his details bring the reader into a world of horror and truly conveys the sick world in which a man without society lives, even if they previously lived within a utopia.

I personally agree fully with Goldings views on ?mans essential sickness?, I do not believe there could ever be a utopian society where there is no evil amongst a number of people. I believe there is a sad, sadistic side in amongst all of us and certain things can bring out the worst in us no matter the type of our up bringing we have. Everybody has different views on this subject and my voice is one of many, and sadly I guess we will never know or not if Golding simplistic views are the truth, although the history of the 20th century needs to suggest that he was right.

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