“Maybe,” he said hesitantly, “maybe there is a beast…. What I mean is, maybe it’s only us.”

William Golding

William Golding’s 

Lord of the Flies

Kenzaburo Oe’s 

Nip the Buds, Shoot the Kids
Some Themes to Question/Challenge:
  • Where does violence come from?
  • Are all humans flawed?
  • Upon what does our survival depend?
  • What can we say of the nature of animals? of civilization?
  • Where can we find evil?
· Law & Order
· Reason & Logic
· Chaos & Evil/Violence
· Hope & Rescue
· Isolation
· Adulthood
· Civilization


· The Conch Shell· The Fire
· The Glasses  The Map
· The Pig’s Head  The Parachute
· Ralph(Anglo-Saxon) “Counsel”
· Jack(Hebrew) “One who supplants”
· Roger(Germanic) “Spear”
· Piggy(English) “Pig” (duh)
· Simon(Hebrew) “Listener”

The name “Lord of the Flies” is the English translation of the Biblical name Beelzebub, the Prince of Devils.


Reading Schedule

LotF Chs
LotF pps
NtB Chs.
NtB pps
 1-4 21-89
5-7 90-140
8-10 141-189

William Golding: 1911-1993

Golding–who would later earn the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1983–tried to write his first novel at age 12. He didn’t publish his first book until age 23, a book of poems. Realizing he would not succeed as a writer, he began teaching English and philosophy. He left teaching between 1940-1945, however, to join the Royal Navy and fight in World War II. He wrote then:

“I began to see what people were capable of doing. Anyone who moved through those years without understanding that man produces evil as a bee produces honey, must have been blind or wrong in the head.”

This theme would re-emerge in his novels. After nearly two dozen rejections, he published Lord of the Flies, It grew to success quickly. and in 1963 (and again in 1990) film versions were created. Just a few years after receiving the Nobel Prize, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth. He worked on his writing for another ten years, up until his death in 1993 at the age of 82. He left behind a large selections of plays, novels, poetry, essays, and short stories.

Golding’s themes and philosophies about humanity sound similar to stories we have heard before. Perhaps some works were written previous to Golding’s novel, and therefore his novel is an “answer” to them. Perhaps some works were written after Lord of the Flies and are therefore responses or answers to it (and Golding). In any event, Golding’s novel is a large part of a dialogue about the nature of humanity, about good and evil, about savagery and civilization, and about how fragile we all are.

Assignment Goal:  Reveal the viewpoint of another work which addresses the same theme(s) as Golding’s work and demonstrate how that novel correctly or wrongly contrasts Lord of the Flies. Is your work–a film, a novel, a television program, a song, a work of art–a more true portrayal of the nature of humans? Why do you think so?

Analysis Rubric: Your grade depends mostly upon how well you understand your new chosen work as it contrasts to Lord of the Flies, how accurately you represent the ideas of each. Most of your analysis should be based upon the new work; what does it say to Golding or vice versa?

Details: Specific requirements depend upon how you approach the assignment.  See the other tabs for details.

Synthesis Essay — Your 2-page essay is not about either Lord of the Flies or your new work exactly. Instead, you are writing about the thematic question that you are using to contrast the two works. Think about this as more like a philosophy paper where you speculate on the theme and offer Golding and your new work as examples which help us understand your position.


  • Two MLA-formatted pages
  • Direct reference to both the themes of each works and 1-2 scenes or characters from each as evidence/support
  • A thesis and conclusion which focuses on a question of theme around the nature of humanity

The Interview — You will stage an interview with one or more “guests” about your new work and Golding’s work in order to discover the “truth” about humanity. This could be a discussion between characters, between authors, between viewers or readers, or whatever combination that makes sense to reveal the themes and differences between the works. Your interview may or may not reach a solid conclusion.


  • Length or 4 scripted pages or 4 minutes of dialogue
  • Video, podcast, script, or live presentation; inventing a format is optional but more interesting: talk show, game show, reality TV, journalism, dinner party, etc.
  • Direct reference to both the themes of each works and 1-2 scenes or characters from each as evidence/support

The Great Debate — Stage a debate with a partner where each speaker assumes the argument from one of the works around a central question on theme: i.e. Is Mankind fundamentally evil?  Each speaker should build their case specifically from the author’s view.


  • 3-5 minutes of total speaking time for each speaker (can be broken into multiple rounds)
  • Can be staged live, on video, or as podcast
  • Direct reference to the theme of each work and 1-2 scenes or characters from each as evidence/support
Step 1May 3Choose another work that speaks of issues/themes similar to Lord of the Flies
Step 2May 10Select a specific theme or argument from Golding that the other work answers. Then map out (or outline) some of the differences you see along with evidence.
Step 3May 12Finalize the form of your project (essay, interview, or debate)
Step 4May 13-19Create your project, workshopping with others as necessary
Step 5May 26Complete the project or have scheduled your live presentation.

And yes, this project can take the place of a Moodle chapter project!