Saturday, March 22, 2008

William Golding and Original Sin

In connection with the Barney Zwartz article in The Age noted below, there is a list of "seven classic books in which sin is a central theme". They are:

The book of Genesis
The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Crime and Punishment, by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, by James Joyce
The Golden Bowl, by Henry James
The Heart of the Matter, by Graham Greene
and
Lord of the Flies, by William Golding.

As you know, I have been listening to Golding read the last book on this list. Here are his off the cuff closing remarks about the "picture" he had in his mind when he wrote "Lord of the Flies":
This picture was of a little boy who actually found that he was on a coral island and was so delighted that he stood on his head. this is one of the ways small boys show their delight... And that was one picture, and the other picture was of this same little boy crying, crying his heart out more or less, because he had discovered what actually went on, what people were like in society when you don't have law.

I think really you could say the most important thing said in the book is when Jack says "Bollocks to the rules. Why should we obey the rules? and why should we bother about the rules?" and Ralph says "because the rules are the only thing we've got." That really is, I suppose you could say, what the book is about. If you don't have rules, that is to say, if you don't have law, then you are lost, you are finished, you're gone.

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