How to Write “Lord of the Flies’’

Why did William Golding’s novel, “Lord of the Flies,’’ shift the blame for human savagery from adults onto children? Because we are all children at heart in selfishness? These questions are not answered in the new biography. We will have to ask ourselves these questions, and maybe that’s the point with Golding.

“Did the fear of nuclear annihilation or the start of counterculture make this novel of schoolboy savagery seem particularly apt? What about it spoke to the college generation in the lead-up to the Vietnam War? This book rarely addresses this type of broad question.

“Fans of “Lord of the Flies’’ will be intrigued to learn both that Golding disliked his most famous work (he dismissed the fortune it made him as “Monopoly money’’).

“William Golding (no doubt to the despair of modern fiction-writing teachers everywhere) almost always began his novels with an intellectual concept, rather than a character, in mind. We also learn that despite setting much of his fiction in times and places unfamiliar to him, like ancient Egypt, he rarely did any research, preferring his imagination to factual accuracy.

—From the review in the Boston Globe by Alison Lobron.
William Golding: The Man Who Wrote “Lord of the Flies’’ By John Carey

One Comment to “How to Write “Lord of the Flies’’”

  1. Interesting. Though I think artists in general can be big babies, moaning about how people love their own least favorite creation. It seems prissy to me to complain about your readers not sharing your own prescient literary tastes when you ought to be humbled by the fact that one of your works has won the hearts of so many.

    That being said, I’ve never read Lord of the Flies, but always vaguely thought that its concept was that the corruption of the children was a mere analogy for the corruption of adults. I’d be happy to discover it was otherwise, though; I’m not a big fan of the idea of childhood innocence.

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