April 20, 2018

"Lord of the Flies" and the Law

William Golding's daughter Judy Golding Carter discusses what her father's novel Lord of the Flies actually means.  She says in part,

The boys in Lord of the Flies make quite a good fist of creating a democratic society, at least to begin with. Ralph, the democratically elected leader, admonishes Jack to stick to "the rules", because "the rules are the only thing we've got." In an interview the author said that the novel was about the importance of the rule of law. It was also about the complexity of human beings.
My father greatly distrusted simply judgements. He was careful to give Jack some good qualities, and to make him attractive. It's possible to imagine that under different circumstances Jack and Ralph would have been friends, would have helped each other's weeknesses, and admired each other's strengths. But the author shows that this cannot happen on the island because the boys in their isolation are suffering unchecked "from the terrible disease of being human".

More from The Guardian's Letter to the Editor column here.

A select bibliography on Lord of the Flies and law below.

A. A. H. Al-Saidi, Savagery and the Heart of Darkness in William Golding's "Lord of the Flies," 4 CSCanada -- (2012). (abstract).

David Spitz, Power and Authority: An Interpretation of Goldings' "Lord of the Flies,  30 The Antioch Review 21 (Spring 1970).

Eric Wilson, Warring Sovereigns and Mimetic Rivals: On Scapegoards and Political Crisis in William Golding's "Lord of the Flies," 8 Law and Humanities 147 (2014).

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