William Golding World Literature Analysis
Critics have called Golding an allegorist, a fabulist, and a mythmaker. Of the three terms, Golding preferred mythmaker, and when he was awarded the Nobel Prize the citation acknowledged the mythic quality of his work, his ability to illuminate the condition of humankind by means of a concrete story.
In framing the concrete stories, Golding often draws on literary precedents, both specific works and genres. For Lord of the Flies Golding turns to the genre of boys’ adventure stories and to R. M. Ballantyne’s The Coral Island (1858), in particular. Where Ballantyne’s boys, stranded on a desert island, have a jolly time and live harmoniously, Golding’s boys become little savages. Golding turns the literary precedent on its head, using it only as a starting place for his own unique view.
Golding also draws on his interests and his biography in his works. For example, Golding grew up near the sea, served in the navy, and has written essays on the pleasure and pain of sailing his own boat. Thus, in A Sea Trilogy, Golding is able to describe accurately the tensions of shipboard proximity, the moods of the ocean, and the nautical minutiae with which the crew must be concerned.
Golding once said that although he was, by nature, an optimist, he hoped that a defective logic made him a pessimist. This view in many ways sums up the themes that play in his novels. In other words, his logic and objective...
(The entire section is 4539 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of William Golding Critical Essays. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!