Does William Golding agree with the Hobbesian or a Lockean view of human nature and government in Lord of the Flies?

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Kristen Lentz | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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William Golding's novel Lord of the Flies shares in a most definite Hobbesian view of humanity. One of Hobbes' most well known quotes from The Leviathan summarizes the events of Lord of the Flies perfectly:

"No arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death: and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short" (Chapter 12). 

Hobbes' quote could be a summary for the back cover of Golding's novel.  Without the law and order provided by civilization, the boys on the island descend into darkness, fear, and death.  Their quality of life does become primal, and in Hobbes' words, "brutish and short."  The final two chapters of Golding's novel are animalistic and raw; due to the savagery of the other boys, Ralph feels like a cornered, hunted animal until he is finally rescued by the naval officer.   As Golding artfully suggests through Simon's conversation with the Lord of the Flies, man's sin has brought darkness and death to the island.


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