Golding’s often allegorical fiction makes broad use of allusions to classical literature, mythology, and Christian symbolism. Although no distinct thread unites his novels and his technique varies, Golding deals principally with evil and emerges with what has been characterized as a kind of dark optimism. Golding uses characters to describe conflicts and traits inherent in society and its members. Golding feels that man is inherently evil, and this evil must be confronted and controlled. Society is both a victim and controller of this evil. Although, like many authors, he utilizes his personal history, Golding is unique in the way that he uses the actual to build a structure of meaning. The symbolism of his novels is often more important than the action. Though the literal story in itself is interesting, his characters, images, and settings go beyond the merely literal, to represent universal truths about human nature.
His novels are also, in some respects, close to actuality. There is a realism in his rendering of physical detail and in his dependence on his own experience for documentation. For instance, Lord of the Flies depends on his accurate observation and recording, as well as his knowledge of the old English Epic and experience of the terrors and tensions of war. Golding can be said to be a writer of myths. It is the pattern of myth that we find in his manner of writing. For instance, as a young man, he believed that man would be able to perfect himself by improving society and eventually doing away with all social evil, a view similar to H.G. Wells. Golding inveighs against those who think that it is the political or other systems that create evil. To him, evil springs from the depths of man himself. It is the wickedness in human beings that creates the evil systems, or, that changes what, from the beginning, is or could be good, into something unjust and destructive.
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