Common Themes in William Golding's Work


A running theme in William Golding‚s works is that man is savage at heart, always ultimately reverting back to an evil 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. 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." (Baker, pg. 5) Another recurrent theme of Golding‚s is the conflict between humanity‚s innate barbarism and the civilizing influence of reason.

Golding often chooses his themes and the framework for his stories from the world of the sea, or from other challenging situations in which odd people are tempted to reach beyond their limits, thereby being bared to the very marrow. "His
stories usually have a fairly schematic drama, almost an anecdote, as skeleton." (Simon and Schuster, pg.2) He then covers this with a richly varied and spicy "flesh" of colorful characters and surprising events. "Golding implies that the long course of evolution has brought no fundamental change in human nature.

We are today essentially what we were in the past." (Nobel Foundation, pg. 3) In his themes, there is also the slightest presence of religious references. For instance in Lord of the Flies, Simon tries to show the boys that there is no monster on the island except the fears that the boys have, and for this, he is ridiculed. This is an uncanny parallel to the misunderstanding that Christ had to deal with this throughout his life. Also, after Simon is speared to death, the description of his death, the manner in which he died, and the cause for which he died, are remarkably similar to the circumstances of Christ‚s life and ultimate demise. The only inconsistency us that Christ died on a cross, however, Christ was stabbed in the side with a spear before his crucifixion.

Copyright 1963-1990 by Simon & Schuster, Inc.

Golding, William, Works of William Golding: Character Analyses., Monarch Notes, 01-01-1963.


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Juan Javier Herraiz Puante
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