LOTF Context

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  • LOTF Context
    • William Golding
      • Life and Family
        • Born in 1911, in his grandmother's house in Cornwall
        • Grew up in Marlborough, Wiltshire
        • His father was a teacher with socialist views and his mother campaigned for a women's sufferage. He also had an older brother who was also a teacher
        • He married Ann Brookfield, an analytical chemist, in 1939
          • He had two children, named David and Judith Diana
        • He died in 1993
      • Education
        • He attended Marlborough Grammar School from 1921- 1930
        • In 1930, he went to Oxford university. He read natural Sciences for two years but then changed to English literature
      • Career
        • He served in the Royal Navy during the Second World War
        • Between 1945 and 1961; he taught at Bishop Wordsworth School in Salisbury
        • He had four books published while he was teaching- many publishers had earlier turned his books down. Charles Monteith at Faber and Faber saw the quality of LOTF and published it in 1954
      • Writing
        • LOTF, his first novel, was published in 1954
        • Other key texts include: The Brass Butterfly (1958), The Spire (1964) and the Rites of Passage (1980)
      • Recognition
        • In 1980, he won the Booker prize for Rites of Passage
        • In 1983, he was awarded the Nobel prize in Literature
        • In 1988, he was knighted
    • Historical Context
      • Britain and Imperialism
        • The British empire was arguably the most extensive empire ever to have existed, at its peak covering almost a quarter of the world's land and governing a fifth of the world's population
        • 'The sun never sets on the British empire'
      • Discovery and Exploration
        • English exploration of the 'New World' began at the end of the fifteenth century
        • The first half of the seventeenth century saw the emergence of colonial ambitions result in the establishment of the first permanent English settlements in Virginia, Bermuda and the Caribbean island of Barbados
        • The failure of the Kingdom of Scotland's own endeavors to form an empire in the Americans was one of the primary causes for the integration of Scotland into Great Britain in 1707
      • Trade
        • New settlements outside Europe brought territorial expansion and sometimes great mineral wealth They always offered prospects of access to new resources and opportunities.
      • Post-war British Society
        • William Golding started writing LOTF six years after the second World War ended. Fear and change were dominant themes for British people
        • By 1951 the Americans and the Soviets were menacing human existence with the threat of atomic weapons and many in British saw world communism as being as dangerous a threat as Hitler's Germany had been
        • The post-war governments had implemented an austerity programme to rebuild the shattered British economy. How that might be achieved and society be remodelled in the process remained unknown
      • Impact of War
        • 260,000 Britons died on active service
        • 60,000 died in the Blitz of Britain's great cities
        • The war caused trauma and destruction but also eroded some of the persistent social inequality in Britain
        • brought rural and urban committees closer and allowed women to prove their worth as workers and not just wives and children
      • Nazi Germany
        • extermination of 6 million Jews from the holocaust
        • Swastika (red, white and black)
    • Golding's influences
      • War
        • His service during the war gave him direct experience of the human capacity for brutality.
        • Golding said that these horrors lay behind his descriptions of the behaviour of the boys on the island
      • Teaching
        • Gave him further invaluable insights into human behaviour
        • In LOTF the narrative suggests that evil is inherent within all of us.
          • We cannot be certain of Golding's religious beliefs, but some critics have seen the novel as an allegory depicting Man's fall from grace
            • However, it could also be read as a critique of growing cruelty and destruction that mankind is capable of inflicting, which Golding witnessed first-hand during wartime
    • Freud and his belief in 'psyche'
      • The boys' characters represent the different part of a personality. Golding himself had distrust in the ideas of Freud however the psychoanalytic framework really shows throughout the book
      • The ID is concerned with our basic needs and desires
        • The ID would link to Jack in LOTF as he quickly takes on the role of leader and provider
          • However, the fact that he never gain complete power over the boys suggests that bowing to our basic desires can be dangerous and unsatifying
      • The SUPEREGO is centered on moral imperatives and prohibitations
        • Piggy would be the SUPEREGO as he worries about fairness,order and rules.
          • The reader therefore needs to question why the boys destroy Piggy and similarly destroy all the rules on the island
      • The EGO is conserned with negotiating a really, striking balance between ID and SUPEREGO
        • Ralph is the metaphorical ego, he tries to maintain cohesion in the group by being friends with both boys and trying to find a compromise between Piggy and Jack
    • Other small context points
      • Microcosm
        • Definition- a community, place, or situation regarded as encapsulating in miniature the characteristics of something much larger.
        • In LOTF the island is a microcosm for the rest of the world out of the island and also a microcosm for the outside world in 1954
      • Name meanings
        • Ralph means counsel
        • Jack means one who is supplants
        • Simon means listener
      • Beelzebub means Lord of the Flies which links to the devil- almost like original sin
      • Religious connotations
        • Simon is considered as spiritual throughout the book
          • He is the only boy which sees that the beast is within the boys
          • He's the only one who realizes that the 'beast' on top of the mountain is actually a dead man

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