Does Golding offer any solutions for society's ills?   Lord of the Flies by William Golding

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Golding's novel Lord of the Flies was written in answer to the Victorian novel The Coral Island, a narrative of stranded British boys who conquer savages on an island, representing the superiority of the British as well as a victory of civilization over savagery.  In Golding's narrative, however, the innate savagery of the boys supersedes the conditioning of a society and effects chaos and death. 

When the boys are rescued by the British naval officer, he is appalled that the boys have not made a better go of their situation:

"I should have thought that a pack of British boys--you're all British, aren't you?--would have been able to put up a better show than that--I mean--....Like the Coral Island.

However, the irony of his criticisms that he is a man of wartime, a commander of a warship, a "trim cruiser" that waits in the distance.  This warship suggests that even the British civilization to which the boys return is itself fraught with its own brutality and savagery.  Therefore, it seems that Golding offers no solutions to the intrinsic condition of man; he simply argues that, as Nathaniel Hawthorne writes in his story "Young Goodman Brown," "Evil is the nature of mankind."

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