“Lord of the Flies” is a classic novel written by William Golding and first published in 1954. The story explores the dark side of human nature and the breakdown of civilization when a group of boys stranded on a deserted island descend into chaos and violence. The novel begins with a group of boys, ranging in age from young children to adolescents, marooned on an uninhabited island after their plane crashes. With no adults present, they initially attempt to establish order and create a functioning society. They elect Ralph as their leader and form a system of governance. However, as time passes and their hopes of rescue diminish, conflicts arise, and the boys’ inherent savage instincts gradually emerge. The central characters in the novel represent different aspects of human nature. Ralph embodies leadership, reason, and a desire for civilization. He strives to maintain order, build shelters, and establish a signal fire to attract potential rescuers. Ralph’s counterpart is Jack, a charismatic and power-hungry boy who embraces his savage instincts. He forms a rival tribe and becomes obsessed with hunting and the pursuit of power. The conflict between Ralph and Jack symbolizes the struggle between civilization and savagery. One of the notable symbols in the novel is the titular “Lord of the Flies,” which refers to a severed pig’s head impaled on a stick. It becomes a grotesque representation of the evil and darkness lurking within the boys. The “Lord of the Flies” speaks to Simon, a quiet and intuitive character who represents spirituality and insight. The conversation between Simon and the “Lord of the Flies” reveals the inherent evil that exists within humanity and foreshadows the tragic events to come. As the boys descend further into savagery, their action becomes increasingly brutal and violent. They engage in the ritualistic hunting of a sow, and Simon, mistakenly identified as the “beast,” is brutally murdered by the frenzied group of boys. This pivotal moment showcases the complete loss of civilization and the triumph of primal instincts. “Lord of the Flies” is a powerful allegory that explores the innate capacity for evil within human beings, highlighting the fragility of societal norms and the potential for chaos when civilization breaks down. Golding’s novel raises thought-provoking questions about the nature of humanity, the balance between order and chaos, and the consequences of unchecked power. The impact of “Lord of the Flies” on literature has been significant. It is often studied in schools and universities, engaging readers in discussions about human nature, morality, and the dangers of unchecked authority. The novel serves as a cautionary tale, reminding us of the delicate balance required to maintain a civilized society.
Sir William Gerald Golding is a profound writer who possesses remarkable insights into the human mind and psyche. His novels are truly exceptional in their themes, structure, and techniques, and his deep understanding of human psychology lends complexity to his characters. Many critics consider him the most captivating writer to emerge after the Second World War, and he has become a significant force in contemporary fiction. Golding’s storytelling prowess is unparalleled, and his work exhibits a forward-thinking perspective. His writing is imbued with a poetic intensity, as if guided by the fervent beliefs of an enraptured seer. With contained fervor, musicality, and sensitivity, his novels resonate with readers, leaving a lasting impression akin to poetry. They powerfully explore the tragic essence of human destiny, further enhancing their impact. Born in 1911, Sir William Gerald Golding is a post-war novelist who witnessed the events leading up to World War II during his formative years. At the tender age of twelve, he realized his passion for writing and immersed himself in literature. This love for reading and early writing endeavors led him to pursue the study of Literature in college. However, when World War II broke out in 1939, Golding joined the Royal Navy and gained a unique perspective on how war can alter the fundamental nature of humanity. In recognition of his literary contributions, Golding was honored with the prestigious Booker Prize in 1980 for his novel “Rites of Passage,” and three years later, in 1983, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. Golding is an artist who possesses a profound understanding of human nature. His body of work includes five notable novels: “Lord of the Flies” (1954), “Pincher Martin” (1956), “Darkness Visible” (1979), “Rites of Passage” (1980), and “The Double Tongue” (1995). These novels have been carefully chosen for an in-depth analysis from a psychoanalytic perspective. Through this lens, Golding’s evolution as a writer can be observed as his career spans various phases, each exploring a diverse range of themes. The characters, situations, perspectives, and narrative techniques employed by Golding in constructing his fictional worlds will be thoroughly examined. While scholarly attention has been given to Golding’s seminal work, “Lord of the Flies,” there exists a gap in psychoanalytic criticism concerning the selected novels. The works under scrutiny have not received as much critical analysis, and this study aims to fill that void. Psychoanalysis, initially conceptualized by Austrian neurologist Sigmund Freud during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, is a psychological and psychotherapeutic theory. It encompasses a system of psychological theories and therapies aimed at addressing mental disorders by exploring the interplay between conscious and unconscious elements of the mind, ultimately bringing repressed fears and conflicts into the realm of consciousness. Within the realm of literature, Psychoanalytic Criticism applies the principles of psychoanalysis to analyze both the text and its characters.
Dating back to the early stages of psychoanalysis, Psychoanalytic Criticism has been a consistent practice. It shares similarities with psychoanalysis, as readers or critics approach the characters in novels as psychological case studies. By employing Freudian concepts such as Freudian slips, the psychosexual stages of development, the life and death instincts, the conscious, subconscious, and unconscious mind, as well as the id, ego, and superego, and the defense mechanisms of the ego, fictional characters can be interpreted and understood more deeply. These concepts and theories exert influence on the thoughts and behaviors of the characters, demonstrating their impact within the narrative. William Gerald Golding is an eminent figure in the realm of English literature, holding a significant position among modern British fiction writers. Golding’s contributions extend beyond his prowess as a writer; he possesses a diverse range of talents. From being a respected former schoolteacher and an accomplished classical scholar to exploring the realms of acting, anthropology, music, and even serving as a Royal Navy lieutenant commanding a rocket ship during World War II, his accomplishments are manifold. Golding has earned a well-deserved reputation for his remarkable contribution to modern British novels. His works delve into the eternal struggle within human beings, portraying the constant battle between their civilized selves and the darker aspects of their nature. In recognition of his literary achievements, Golding was awarded the James Tait Black Memorial Prize in 1979, followed by the prestigious Man Booker Prize in 1980 for his novel “Rites of Passage.” The pinnacle of his recognition came in 1983 when he was honored with the esteemed Nobel Prize for Literature. Additionally, he was a fellow member of the Royal Society of Literature and received knighthood from Queen Elizabeth in 1988. In 2008, The Times ranked him third among “The Fifty Greatest British Writers since 1945,” further cementing his place in literary history.
William Golding, born in 1911 into an English middle-class academic family, experienced a childhood that was characterized by its idyllic and secluded nature. At the age of twelve, he made the decisive choice to pursue a career as a writer. His initial ambition revolved around a twelve-volume work centered on trade unions, although this ambitious project ultimately remained unfinished. Driven by his love for reading and early attempts at writing, Golding pursued the study of literature. After completing his education, he spent some time involved in the theater before eventually finding his calling as a school teacher at Bishop Wordsworth’s School. However, with the outbreak of World War II, Golding’s life took a significant turn. Joining the Royal Navy, Golding served actively throughout the duration of the war. This experience had a profound impact on him, both as a person and as a writer. Witnessing the extremes of human behavior during wartime awakened a deeper understanding within him. It provided a crucial turning point in his life, as he began to comprehend the depths of depravity to which individuals were capable of descending. These experiences and insights would go on to shape his subsequent novels, where he fearlessly depicted the darker aspects of human nature. Golding’s journey began in Newquay, Cornwall, where he was born at his grandmother’s house. It was during his childhood that he formed a deep connection with the area, spending many memorable holidays there. His formative years, however, were primarily spent in Marlborough, Wiltshire, where his father, Alec Golding, served as a science teacher at Marlborough Grammar School. Both Golding and his elder brother, Joseph, attended this school, benefitting from their father’s presence as an educator. His mother, Mildred, played an active role in society as a social worker and a passionate advocate for female suffrage. In 1930, Golding embarked on his academic journey at Brasenose College, Oxford. Initially pursuing Natural Sciences, he eventually switched his focus to English Literature. He successfully obtained his bachelor’s degree in 1934, and shortly thereafter, his collection of poems, titled “Poems,” was published. Golding’s passion for education led him to become a school teacher. He taught Philosophy and English in 1939 and, starting from 1945 until 1961, focused solely on teaching English at Bishop Wordsworth’s School in Salisbury, Wiltshire.
During his youth, Golding possessed a natural musical talent, much like his father. He showcased his skills by playing several instruments, with a particular fondness for the piano. However, his aspirations for a musical career were abruptly halted by his father’s insistence that he attend Oxford. To Golding’s dismay, he held an intense aversion toward Oxford, perceiving it with an almost morbid intensity. Specifically, he harbored a strong distaste for Brasenose College, considering it a place where unremarkable individuals from prestigious public schools were sent. Throughout his years at Oxford, Golding appeared to be both sullen and burdened by financial struggles and feelings of isolation. During his time at the local grammar school in Marlborough, Wiltshire, where he resided during his schooldays, Golding had developed a deep-seated resentment toward the neighboring public school due to its atmosphere of privileged superiority. This animosity evidently persisted throughout his time at Oxford and even into his later life. On September 30, 1939, William Golding entered into marriage with Ann Brookfield, an analytical chemist. Together, they were blessed with two children named Judith and David. However, their lives took a dramatic turn with the outbreak of the Second World War. In 1940, Golding joined the Royal Navy and became involved in various significant military operations. He played a brief role in the pursuit and sinking of the German battleship Bismarck. Furthermore, he participated in the historic invasion of Normandy on D-Day, where he commanded a landing ship responsible for firing rockets onto the beaches. Golding also saw action during the Walcheren operation, during which a substantial portion of the assault crafts were sunk, with only one out of the 24 surviving. The experiences of war had a profound impact on William Golding, fundamentally altering his perspective. It caused him to lose faith in the inherent innocence of humanity, as the atrocities and brutality witnessed during wartime challenged his previous beliefs. In 1985, Golding and his wife relocated to Tullimaar House in Perranarworthal, Cornwall. However, their time together was cut short when Golding tragically passed away from a heart attack on June 19, 1993. He was laid to rest in the parish churchyard of Bowerchalke, Wiltshire. Shortly after his untimely demise, in September 1993, the First International William Golding Conference took place in France. The conference had been eagerly anticipated, with the presence of William Golding himself initially promised. However, his passing cast a solemn shadow over the event, serving as a poignant reminder of his absence. Golding’s impressive body of work encompasses a diverse range of literary creations. He published a collection of poems titled “Poems” in 1934 and ventured into drama with “The Brass Butterfly” in 1958. Among his notable novels are “Lord of the Flies” (1954), “The Inheritors” (1955), “Pincher Martin” (1956), “Free Fall” (1959), “The Spire” (1964), “The Pyramid” (1967), “The Scorpion God” (1971), “Darkness Visible” (1979), and “The Paper Men” (1984). He also crafted a captivating sea trilogy called “To the Ends of the Earth,” which consists of “Rites of Passage” (1980), “Close Quarters” (1987), and “Fire Down Below” (1989). His final novel, “The Double Tongue,” was published posthumously in 1995. In addition to his fiction, Golding also delved into non-fiction works such as “The Hot Gates” (1965), “A Moving Target” (1982), and “An Egyptian Journal” (1985). Among his unpublished works are “Seahorse,” a biographical account of his training for D-Day while sailing along the south coast of England, “Circle Under the Sea,” an adventure novel centered around a writer’s quest for archaeological treasures near the Scilly Isles, and “Short Measure,” a novel set in a British boarding school. According to William Golding, humanity’s nature is inherently flawed, and individuals face the constant threat of moral decay due to the grip of sin. Golding posits that human beings possess the freedom to choose whether to distance themselves from God or to embrace their divine likeness. While Golding appears to have embraced certain core tenets of the Christian faith, he holds little trust in religious institutions, dogmas, and hierarchies. His thoughts on these matters are articulated in his essay titled “Fable.”
“Man is a fallen being. He is gripped by original sin. His nature is sinful and his state is perilous. I accept the theology and admit the triteness; but what is trite is true; and a truism can become more than a truism when it is a belief passionately held. (88)”
Golding’s writings suggest a link between humanity’s primitive instincts and the disorder that permeates existence, reflecting his strong belief in the inherently corrupt nature of mankind. According to Golding, the common individual often struggles with moral dilemmas due to a lack of awareness regarding the spiritual realm. This ignorance leads to errors, as humans fail to recognize the inherent evil that afflicts them. While the physical world appears coherent to humans, the spiritual realm remains elusive and incomprehensible. Only fleeting moments of religious experience provide glimpses into the numinous, but overall, it remains beyond man’s grasp. William Golding is deeply immersed in his writing, constantly addressing and representing humanity, which sets him apart as a singular writer. Fearlessly, he unearths the darkness within individuals and exposes the façade of modern society. With his exceptional creative talent, he molds his work to reflect the realities of human nature. Golding possesses a keen awareness of the demands of his time, resulting in vivid descriptions and well-crafted imagery. Themes that touch upon humanity resonate with him, and he exhibits an unwavering determination to dismantle hypocrisy and artificial behaviors. His mission is to convey the message of humanity, enabling individuals to understand themselves and liberate themselves from the chains of self-degradation. He experiences sorrow witnessing the excessive materialism of contemporary lifestyles, where spiritual values have lost their significance.