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Lord of the Flies

Yesterday I stumbled upon a book that was one of my set English texts at high school – William Golding’s ‘Lord of the Flies’ – a short novel about some English school boys marooned on a tropical island without adults. I quickly turned to find the only line that I can remember. Said one boy to another in a burst of anger: “You’re a liar and a thief and a bloody, bloody pig!” – a phrase that, strangley, we used often and endearingly.

But I was surprised and delighted to find that the edition included a short essay by Golding titled ‘Fable’, in which he candidly reveals his purpose in writing the book, as well as his philosophy, namely, that the problem for man comes not from without but from within. “Man is a fallen being. He is gripped by original sin. His nature is sinful and his state perilous.”

Well, well. I don’t remember being taught that at high school. But I do remember stumbling across that same sad point in another Book that I read post high school, which made the point not by way of fable but by way of history. Thankfully however that Book makes a second and vital point. Not just that the problem for man, comes not from without but within, but that the solution for man comes in the opposite direction – not from within but from without; and from a Lord known by another name.

DM 22nd February 2021

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