Lord of the Flies
is an ironic post-World War II creation myth. On the first day, Golding created children and placed them on a desert island. This was all good, but soon they started killing each other, and we all know how the story ends. (At least we think we do; more on that later.) Golding asks what would happen if we rebooted society
, and his Ecclesiastes-referencing answer is nothing new
. The irony lies in the fact that Golding delivers these children from nuclear war (did you catch the reference to the Reds?) only to have them murder each other on a nice, peaceful island.
The Lord of the Flies himself signals the presence of some malevolent spiritual entity that doesn't disappear when you get remove drugs or the Internet or violent video games from the equation. It's original sin, plain and simple, that interests Golding, and though he makes his point heavy-handedly, it's still a sobering thought. Even if you make it off the island alive, you've still got to deal with the nukes.
What Golding might not have expected was the eventual collapse of the Soviet empire in the early 1990s. Would the Lord of the Flies have self-destructed too given enough time? If you follow Lord of the Flies
' Biblical motifs to their logical conclusion, the end of the book might not necessarily be the end of the story. A glimmer of hope perhaps, although you have to put up with a couple thousand years of human misery just to get there.