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Does the novel "lord of the flies" ending indicate that Golding is pessimistic or...

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valeriya12 | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted December 19, 2011 at 7:17 AM via web

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Does the novel "lord of the flies" ending indicate that Golding is pessimistic or optimistic about the future society?

Explain your opinion and provide examples of support from the novel "lord of the flies"

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amerie | College Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted December 19, 2011 at 11:22 AM (Answer #2)

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Golding appears to be pessimistic about the nature of mankind, but optimistic about the ways in which people can learn and grow from difficult experiences.  There seem to be elements of Plato's "Allegory of the Cave" in the novel, because the boys are aware of reality only when someone from the outside comes to rescue them from their own, limited, reality.  The boys are trying to work out their own version of the Social Contract, with limited success, but the fact that they are trying to create a functional society in the middle of abject chaos seems to be a statement about peoples' ability to thrive even in the bleakest of situations.  Yes, Piggy dies; and yes, there is factional "warfare" between the groups of boys, but they are doing the best they can with scant resources and deep fear of the unknown.

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vangoghfan | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted December 23, 2011 at 6:51 AM (Answer #3)

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The ending of the novel can be read as pessimistic. Although adults arrive just in time to prevent another killing, their arrival could not have been predicted, and nothing at the end of the book suggests that the characters are fundamentally transformed for the better.

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted December 29, 2011 at 4:08 AM (Answer #4)

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With Golding's establishment of the evil as intrinsic to man there is little optimism to his allegory.  Even the rescue of the boys is overshadowed by the rescuer being a military man, a bellicose man himself, and his ship that will transport the boys home a warship.

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e-martin | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted July 5, 2012 at 4:32 PM (Answer #5)

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I'd like to suggest that the ending of the novel presents the idea that civilization is wide-spread and powerful enough to reign in the random blips of savagery that pop up  from time to time. Though beastiality may be part of human nature, society has practically reduced this lower trait to a marginal existence.

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