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Does Golding offer any solutions for society's ills? If so, what are they? Do you think...

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rrk95 | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 11, 2011 at 6:49 AM via web

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Does Golding offer any solutions for society's ills? If so, what are they? Do you think he is attacking Western Society and its institutions?

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ajmchugh | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted August 11, 2011 at 7:56 AM (Answer #1)

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It seems to me that Golding's target is so broad that it extends beyond any specific society.  Instead, Golding's point is that all humans are instinctually driven by a savage force (Freud termed this the "Id") which is essentially supressed because of rules imposed by society.  When removed from a structured society, Golding argues through his story of the boys on the island, humans resort to this instinctually savage behavior. 

In a statement Golding issued to the American publishers of Lord of the Flies, Golding said:

The theme [of Lord of the Flies] is an attempt to trace the defects of society back to the defects of human nature.  The moral is that the shape of a society must depend on the ethical nature of the individual and not on any political system however apparently logical or respectable.  The whole book is symbolic in nature except the rescue in the end where adult life appears, dignified and capable, but in reality enmeshed in the same evil as the symbolic life of the children on the island.  The officer, having interrupted a man-hunt, prepares to take the children off the island in a cruiser which will presently be hunting its enemy in the same implacable way.  And who will rescue the adult and his cruiser?

It is evident, from this statement, that the "defects of human nature" that Golding describes are present within all humans, regardless of the rules of the society in which they live.  Fittingly, Golding does not offer any solutions for this problem; instead, he uses children (because they are generally accepted to be "innocent" and have not yet been corrupted by society in the same way that adults have been) to show that everyone is susceptible to the descent into savagery because it is inherently present within all of us.  (He gives evidence of this in Chapter 7 when Ralph, who is the most logical, order-desiring, savagery-resisting child on the island, gets caught up in the excitement of a hunt.)   

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Noelle Thompson | High School Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted August 16, 2011 at 9:24 AM (Answer #2)

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This question has already been asked and answered here on eNotes.  Here is a link for you:  http://www.enotes.com/lord-of-the-flies/q-and-a/does-golding-offer-any-solutions-societys-ills-270272

Noelle Thompson

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