An Attack on Humanism in William Golding's Lord of The Flies Essay

An Attack on Humanism in William Golding's Lord of The Flies Essay

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The start of the Protestant Reformation marked the turn of people away from religious schools of thought and the embracement of ideas that one could deduce independently. The spiritual guidance that people had previously had based their entire lives around was shown to be corrupted and false and they set out to discover their own conclusions about existence. Out of this effort arose humanism, "a philosophy that rejects all supernaturalism and relies primarily upon reason and science, democracy and human compassion" (American Humanist Society). Humanism or rationalism to some extent supposedly allows people to explore their thoughts and emotions, better comprehend reality, and stay in tune with facets on the modern era, such as science and technology. Lord of the Flies by William Golding attacks this philosophy, stripping it of its almighty “logical basis” and offering no praise of gratification. Throughout the course of the novel, the embrace of reason frequently leads to the misunderstandings, sins, and stigma. In Lord of The Flies, Golding destroys the idea of modern humanism as a form of salvation for humanity, describing it instead as a naive and frivolous delusion, leading people further away from the true meaning of life and closer to chaos and animalistic tendencies.

Golding's distrust of humanist ideas stem from his personal experiences. His father was an unyielding rationalist and impacted the majority of his life decisions. Golding describes him as a “incarnate omniscience" over his life, an idea reflected in Golding’s initial scholarly career and occupational choices (McCarron). For instance, he began his studies in the field of Science, despite his passions lying in English Literature. The idea is further manifested w...

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...ciation, 2008. Web. 19 Mar. 2014. .
Fitzgerald, John F., and John R. Kayser. "Golding's Lord Of The Flies: Pride As Original Sin." Studies In The Novel 24.1 (1992): 78. Academic Search Elite. Web. 10 Mar. 2014.
Golding, William. Lord of the Flies. New York: Penguin Group, 2006. Print.
"Lord of the Flies." Novels for Students. Ed. Diane Telgen. Vol. 2. Detroit: Gale Group, 1997. 174-195. Literary Criticism. Web. 11 Mar. 2014.
McCarron Kevin. "Golding, Sir William Gerald 1911-1993.". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. New York: Oxford UP, 2010. 1-7. Print.

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