William Golding- A Soldier and a Writer

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William Golding was an amazing, but unique, British author. Aside from Golding’s teaching and writing, he had another side to him. Golding fought in the Royal Navy during World War II. He wrote one of the first books that strayed from what were considered the normal book themes at the time, that book is Lord of the Flies. Not only was Golding’s life affected by his time in the war, but his writing was affected as well.

Golding was young when he first discovered his love of writing and went on throughout his entire life following a career in writing. He made an attempt to write his first book at the age of twelve years old, but when he became angry that he could not manage to write one he took it out on others and bullied them. After that, Golding resolved his bullying and went on to Brasenose College at Oxford University to study English Literature. His first book was published in 1934, titled Poems. He went on to teach English and Philosophy at Bishop’s Wordsworth’s School in Salisbury. There he taught many young boys that were wild and unruly, this later on helped him write Lord of the Flies. (Biography.com)

Golding took a break from teaching and writing in 1940 to fight in World War II. (biography.com) This was where his focus changed. He had always been a shy guy, mostly keeping to himself, but after

fighting in the war it changed him. He became very alert of the evil of mankind, which stemmed from everything that he witnessed during the war. A lot of humans ignore the evil and darkness

of mankind, or in the world in general, but Golding took a different approach and refused to look away from it. Many people never have to experience a situation where they have to look at this evil. Instead of looking at just the evil that humans possess on the opposing side, he also looked at the evil on the side he was fighting with. (McCrum, theguardian.com)

Golding showed his now changed thoughts in his everyday life, but especially in his writing after the war. (McCrum) He touched more on the topics of the way that humans were by nature that we do not get to see very often because it is hidden by our idea of morals and civilization, even though humans are very much animalistic. Golding’s novel Lord of the Flies shows these themes well. The boys on the island start to turn on each other and go crazy, for they had a lack of civilization by the end of the book. They began to become savage. Golding was especially talented at writing on topics like the true nature of humans, as he had seen a lot of it during war. His time teaching gave him the inspiration to paint the picture of young boys going wild from a lack of discipline perfectly. (biography.com)

Unfortunately, Golding received a lot of backlash. Not everyone saw his writing as great as others saw it. Some people saw it as wrong and disturbing. (newworldencyclopedia.org) Golding’s mind was brilliant because he thought different than everyone else did. There was a lot of controversy that came from his writing of Lord of the Flies, since it challenged society’s idea or thinking of how humans truly were. (newworldencyclopedia.org) To this day, many people believe Golding was just insane and do not believe that humans are truly evil. I believe that Golding had a lot of wisdom about the true nature of

humans, because of his experiences in the war. Not many people get the chance to see what all Golding saw, even if it is traumatic for him it gave him a lot of insight to perceive people in a different way. Some of his traumatic experiences include aiding the sinking of the Bismarck and was at the invasion of Normandy on D-Day. (biography.com)

Golding may have had bad experiences during the war, but he also had great experiences in his personal life that not many people got to see. Golding loved the sea and was a talented sailor, he had a strong relationship with the sea. While aboard his boat he was able to let loose and escape his troubles. He loved to take risks that he found fun even though his family thought it was terrifying. His daughter described him as warm, clownish, rumpled, and the funniest guy she knew. His experience in the war did change him, but his family still loved him and they had a lot of great times together anyways. (McCrum)

William Golding produced many amazing writings that are still used and read in classrooms today. He went through a lot in his lifetime that helped to shape him into an amazing writer, even though his experiences in the war were very traumatic and changed his life. Golding helped to break down the thinking that humans are fully good, and open up the idea that things are not always what they seem especially with something as complex as a human.


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William Golding- A Soldier and a Writer. (2021, Aug 23). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/william-golding-a-soldier-and-a-writer/

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