What is one common theme found in both William Golding's Lord of the Flies and George Orwell's 1984?
One common theme between William Golding's Lord of the Flies and George Orwell's 1984 is the authors' view of the future world and the condition of man: it is bad and it will continue to get worse.
In Lord of the Flies, the boys are deposited on an untainted island and have the potential to create an almost Utopian society; however, without restraint or authority, this once-civilized group of boys soon becomes a tribe or murdering savages. In the end, both Ralph and the readers mourn "the end of innocence, the darkness of man’s heart."
In 1984, the world is controlled by Big Brother. Though the Party claims to have the people's best interests in mind, it controls every aspect of their lives, allowing them no freedom to act, feel, and think for themselves. This is a world no one wants to inhabit, and there is no indication, at the end of the novel, that things are ever going to improve.
While their conclusions are similar, Golding and Orwell credit different things for the inevitability of a world doomed for failure. Golding wrote Lord of the Flies "to trace the defects of society back to the defects of human nature." In 1984, Orwell blamed the tyranny of a totalitarian government for the destruction of free will and freedom. Despite the authors' differing views of the cause, both of these novels represent a world which will gradually disintegrate and finally destroy the human spirit.
One predominant theme throughout both novels examines the negatives effects of totalitarian regimes. In 1984, Orwell's dystopian nation of Oceania is controlled by a totalitarian regime whose symbolic leader is Big Brother. The government controls virtually every aspect of life and oppresses its population through manipulation. They play off people's fears and encourage hate. Oceania engages in constant war, and the government is not concerned about the well-being of its citizens. Party members live in constant fear of being arrested by the Thought Police and are forced to submit to Big Brother.
In the novel Lord of the Flies, Golding also examines the negative effects of totalitarianism. Jack encourages the boys to act like savages and maintains control over them through manipulation. He propagates the existence of the "beast" and uses fear to control his tribe. Jack is power hungry and does whatever it takes to remain in control. Jack also ruthlessly punishes those who disagree with him, and the boys descend further into savagery.
Both novels explore how totalitarian governments oppress their population. They use violence, fear, and propaganda to control the citizens. Only the leader benefits from this corrupt system of government.