plain-flavoured-english asked: On the Lord of the Flies post going around, I'd like to add that the whole irony of Lord of the Flies is that the boys keep trying to imitate grown-ups, asking themselves 'What would the grown-ups do?" It's implied that the boys were being evacuated from a war zone, the 'beast' is a dead parachutist casualty who falls on the island, and at the end of the book they are rescued by a military ship. It's a commentary on the self-blind barbarism of so-called 'civilized' British masculinity.
Someone upthread said some things about how William Golding was a horrible person, but this was his intent. It was culturally specific, not a parable about humanity. And he wasn’t just criticizing British civilization à la Another Country. He was criticizing British YA literature of the period - Enid Blyton is the example we’re familiar with now. His generation would have seen war propaganda and YA literature effectively merge; look at Jessie Pope:
Who’s for the Game?
Who’s for the game, the biggest that’s played,
The red crashing game of a fight?
Who’ll grip and tackle the job unafraid?
And who thinks he’d rather sit tight?
Who’ll toe the line for the signal to ‘Go!’?
Who’ll give his country a hand?
Who wants a turn to himself in the show?
And who wants a seat in the stand?
Who knows it won’t be a picnic – not much-
Yet eagerly shoulders a gun?
Who would much rather come back with a crutch
Than lie low and be out of the fun?
Come along, lads –
But you’ll come on all right –
For there’s only one course to pursue,
Your country is up to her neck in a fight,
And she’s looking and calling for you.
(She’s talking about trench warfare.)
He described the genesis of the book as him sitting at home and ranting about some terrible boy’s own book and saying to his wife, “I’m going to write about what would really happen!” and his wife replying, “You do that, dear.”
He didn’t think that children or people were evil, not like the Pearls do, but he had strong reservations about his civilization’s special pleading for violence.