William Golding - Algonquin & Lakeshoreschools.alcdsb.on.ca/hcss/teacherpages/chambers/3U/Shared...
Transcript of William Golding - Algonquin & Lakeshoreschools.alcdsb.on.ca/hcss/teacherpages/chambers/3U/Shared...
William Golding and
Lord of the Flies
1. Born September 19, 1911 in Cornwall England (a sea swept southwest corner of England) His father was a school teacher who promoted education and the need for a good job. Under his father's influence, William was into the study of the natural sciences (biology, physics and chemistry). *** At the time it seemed like a natural extension of the Western cultural trend towards a more analytical appraisal of the world; the First World War having essentially destroyed any faith in the older cultural beliefs in nationhood and God's morality. Science and the Hegemony of Reason had become far more powerful and meaningful as an explanation for human existence. *** Contrary to his father's wishes, William switched out the sciences and into the study of English Literature. This area of study would have exposed him to an understanding of humanity that questioned the suppositions of the sciences and their claim to the Rationality of existence. This study would have acknowledged the cultural processes that allowed for a belief system to exist, and then questioned the actual sense that science was good for humanity.
2. At the age of 23, he passed his exams and started work in a small theatrical company as a writer, actor and producer. For two years before the war, and 15 years after the war, he taught at Middleborough School a feeder school for Oxford.
3. During the war he joined the Royal Navy, and as a Lieutenant, took part in the sinking of the German battleship The Bismark, and he was in the Channel during the invasion and landings of the Allies at Normandy. ** His time at sea allowed him to further his literary studies in one of his main interests, Greek culture and Literature.
4. Golding lived most of his life in Wiltshire England (just west of London) with his wife; they had two children
Middleborough School Oxford
Nobel Laureate William Golding
• Golding's Works• POEMS, 1934 • LORD OF THE FLIES, 1954 • INHERITORS, 1955 • PINCHER MARTIN, 1956 • ENVOY EXTRAORDINARY, 1956 • THE BRASS BUTTERFLY, 1958 (play) • FREE FALL, 1960 ) • MISS PULKINHORN, 1960 (radio play) • THE ANGLOSAXON, 1962 • BREAK MY HEART, 1962 (radio play) • THE SPIRE, 1964 • THE HOT GATES, 1965 • THE PYRAMID, 1967 • THE SCORPION GOD, 1971 • DARKNESS VISIBLE, 1979 • RITES OF PASSAGE, 1980 (Booker Prize) • A MOVING TARGET, 1982 • THE PAPER MEN, 1984 • AN EGYPTIAN JOURNAL, 1985 • CLOSE QUARTERS, 1987 • FIRE DOWN BELOW, 1989 (republished under the general title TO THE END OF THE EARTH in 1991) • THE DOUBLE TONGUE, 1995
As an English schoolboy, educated at the elite public (what in Canada would be a privately funded school) Middleborough School, where his father taught, and then onto Oxford, Golding would have had a very formal education, one versed in literature and debate.1. He would have read Robert Ballantyne's The Coral Island.
a heavily moralistic novel about a group of English school boys lost on a desserted island, who must then master the environment, defeat pirates (due to their English morals), and convert a tribe of cannibalistic [sic]savages to Christianity.
2. He would have read and been tested on his knowledge of English Liberalism and the liberal philosophy's Locke and Mill, and the rationalist thought of French philosopher JJ Rousseau. Rousseau believed that;" civilization had destroyed man's "natural goodness" and thus was the source on inequality" These philosophers would have promoted the concepts of "the greatest good for the greatest number" and "the social contract".
John Locke John Stuart MillJJ Rousseau
The tragedy is based on the mythological story of King Pentheus of Thebes and his mother Agavë , and Pentheus's punishment by the god Dionysus (who is Pentheus's cousin) for refusing to worship him; and for putting the human capacity for reason ahead of the Gods ability to determine human actions.
Literary critic Bernard F Dick has argued that:
1) In the Bacchae, the god Dionysus represents the brute side of man 2) Apollo (who is associated with Pentheus in the Bacchae) represents his rational side. 3) Dionysus, like Jack, "can be gentle when he is propitiated, but when he is rejected, he exacts a
terrible vengeance" 4) The Apollonian Pentheus, who is "rooted in a frigid intellectualism," refuses "to acknowledge
the new religion" of Dionysus just as Ralph refuses to acknowledge Jack's counter society .
5) And, just as Simon is mistaken for the beast and killed, Pentheus is mistaken for a lion, hunted down, and dismembered.
According to Dick, "[b]oth Lord of the Flies and the Bacchae portray a bipolar society in which the Apollonian refuses or is unable to assimilate the Dionysian". This refusal, this "immoderate Apollonianism," proves "fatal," and the society breaks down.
The death of Pentheus
Golding and the Psychologists
1. Golding would have been exposed to the fairly recent studies of the human mind and human conditions by the Austrian father of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud, and his student Carl Gustave Jung. Freud's work revolved around the idea that human behaviour is a struggle between the forces of instinctive desire the 'ID' and the forces of social and moral teachings the 'SUPEREGO'. Both of these are strong forces found within the unconscious mind. The conflict, when severe enough rises to the conscious level the 'EGO' , and manifests itself in abnormal behaviour in the individual.
Golding's characters are often thought to parallel these levels of human motivation.
Jung believed that humans had a universal subconsciousness; that we had an understanding of human existence, but on a very subjective and emotional level. Due to this very difficult to reach and therefore difficult to understand subconscious level, humans often share similar stories, images and beliefs, but within divergent cultures and social systems. Shakespeare's three weird sisters are seen as Greek Fates and as Norse Norns; each representative of Humanity's past, present and future.
Henry Fuseli 's 1783 painting of Macbeth's weird sisters
Handmade oil painting reproduction of The Three Fates a painting by Elihu Vedder
Norse mythology's three norns of human fate
Society's push to a reasoned and logical conceptualization of humanity and human existence and of cause and effect reasoning behind human behaviour, was often seen as contrary to our needs. According to Jung, humans and human society needs to recognize our subjective existence. For Golding, it seemed to be saying that the denial of or repression of the elemental nature of humans is to risk bringing the whole of civilization into ruin. Humanity needs to acknowledge its more dangerous nature and give it an outlet, or it will erupt.
*** "The intention and the chief effect of the Bacchanal was to "liberate the instinctive life in man from the bondage imposed upon it by reason and social custom"***Golding declared that the aim of his work was;
"To trace the defects of society back to the defects of human nature"