William Golding's Inspiration In Lord Of The Flies

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Walker, 1

Golding’s Inspiration for Lord of the Flies The years following World War II were times of great uncertainty in England and throughout the world. An event that shook the world to its core had just occurred. The United States of America had detonated an atomic bomb over Japan. (History.com, “Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki”) This one event had citizens of the world questioning the future existence of mankind. Adding to the chaos, it was revealed in 1949 that Russia had also developed atomic bomb technology.(History.com, “Soviets explode Atomic Bomb”) Two superpowers in conflict with one another now held the threat of a nuclear holocaust at their fingertips. On October 3, 1952, Great Britain entered the nuclear arms race becoming the third country in the world to develop the ability to launch an atomic bomb.(History.com, “Britain successfully Tests A-Bomb”) With the looming threat of a nuclear world war, Great Britain’s role in the ensuing cold war conflict was influential in William Golding’s writing in Lord of the Flies. According to Golding, his initial inspiration for writing Lord of the Flies came suddenly one evening, while he and his wife, Ann, “were sitting by the fire 'in a state of complete parental exhaustion', when, staring into the fire, and 'thinking of this and that', he had a brainwave: 'Wouldn't it be a good idea if I wrote a book about children on an island, children who behave in the way children really would behave?'” (Carey, 149) There is little doubt that Golding’s years teaching at the British school in the years following World War II, spending most of his days in a room full of boys the same age as those he writes about in the novel were influential in his writing. Also influential were the years he spent serving in the Royal British Navy during World War II. However, influences of the Cold War, which was unfolding during the years preceding the book’s release, can be recognized throughout the novel. “Lord of the Flies is not altogether a work of fiction created out of Golding’s imagination, but rather a product of the historical context of its time.
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