An author's view of human behavior is often reflected in their
works. The novels All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria
Remarque and Lord of the Flies by William Golding are both examples of
works that demonstrate their author's view of man, as well his opinion
Golding's Lord of the Flies is highly demonstrative of Golding's
opinion that society is a thin and fragile veil that when removed
shows man for what he truly is, a savage animal. Perhaps the bet
demonstration of this given by Golding is Jack's progression to the
killing of the sow. Upon first landing on the island Jack, Ralph, and
Simon go to survey their new home. Along the way the boys have ...view middle of the document...
" In this case it is certain that animal savagery
is displayed by the boys. Because they have been away from organized
society for such a long time, the boys of the island have become
Golding's view of mankind, vile, destructive beasts.
Although Golding shows that the longer one is away from society
the closer to his view one becomes, the institution of civilization
does not escape his criticism. Golding shows through many examples
that those who are "civilized" are just as prone to violence and war
as those who are isolated. The first example presented in the novel
occurs when the boys attempt to emulate the British democratic
government. The boys prize the adults that run the government as the
best decision makers. It is these "civilized" adults, however, who
started the war which has forced the boys onto the island.
Also, in their mimicking of adult society, one of the first things
that the boys do is establish the choir as an army or a group of
hunters. Another of the criticisms of orderly society comes when Ralph
asks for a sign from the adult world. Ralph does receive his sign in
the form of a dead parachute shot down in an air battle above the
island. This can be interpreted as saying that the savagery existent
in man is even shown in the so called "civilized" world through acts
of war. Golding clearly sees war as an action of destruction caused by
man because of his inherently feral nature.
While Golding views man as a brutal creature whose vile traits are
brought out by isolation from society, Remarque's All Quiet on the
Western Front displays a remarkably contrasting opinion of humanity.
Where Golding's characters become increasingly more sadistic when
placed in a difficult circumstance, those of Remarque manage to
actually grow more caring and develop a feeling of comradeship. It is
clear that despite the fact that Remarque's main character and
narrator, Paul Bumer, is taking part in a war and killing others, he
is not a brutal disgusting creature. Even on the front, where Paul is
in danger of losing his life, he acts in a way directly contrasting
Golding's view of man as a vicious hunter. Paul is faced with a French
soldier who he is to throw a grenade at. Upon seeing his face,
however, Paul hesitates to toss the lethal weapon, as he now
recognizes that this soldier is a person probably much like himself.
This is obviously against Golding's opinion. In the two murders that
occur in Lord of the Flies, those of Piggy and Simon, the killers do
not care about what they are doing as they are caught up in the
intense feeling of the kill. Another example of...