William Golding Long Fiction Analysis
William Golding, like his older British contemporary Graham Greene, is a theological novelist: That is to say, his main thematic material focuses on particular theological concerns, in particular sin and guilt, innocence and its loss, individual responsibility and the possibility of atonement for mistakes made, and the need for spiritual revelation. Unlike Greene, however, he does not write out of a particular Christian, or even religious, belief system; the dialectic he sets up is neither specifically Catholic (like Greene’s) nor Protestant. In fact, Golding’s dialectic is set up in specific literary terms, in that it is with other works of literature that he argues, rather than with theological or philosophical positions per se. The texts with which he argues do represent such positions or make certain cultural assumptions of such positions; however, it is through literary technique that he argues—paralleling, echoing, deconstructing—rather than through narratorial didacticism.
Golding’s achievement is a literary tour de force. The British novel has never contained theological dialectic easily, except at a superficial level, let alone a depiction of transcendence. Golding accepted the nineteenth century novel tradition but modified it extensively. Each novel represented a fresh attempt for him to refashion the language and the central consciousness of that tradition. Sometimes he pushed it beyond the limits of orthodox mimetic realism, and...
(The entire section is 4728 words.)
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