William Golding’s biography

William Golding


Write your own biography of William Golding stressing on the main aspects of his career as a novelist.

William Golding was born September 19, 1911, in Saint Columb Minor, Cornwall, England. In 1935 he started teaching English and philosophy in Salisbury. He temporarily left teaching in 1940 to join the Royal Navy. In 1954 he published his first novel, Lord of the Flies. In 1983, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. On June 19, 1993, he died in Perranarworthal, Cornwall, England.

Early Life

William Golding was born on September 19, 1911, in Saint Columb Minor, Cornwall, England. He was raised in a 14th-century house next door to a graveyard. His mother, Mildred, was an active suffragette who fought for women’s right to vote. His father, Alex, worked as a schoolmaster. William received his early education at the school his father ran, Marlborough Grammar School. When William was just 12 years old, he attempted, unsuccessfully, to write a novel. A frustrated child, he found an outlet in bullying his peers. Later in life, William would describe his childhood self as a brat, even going so far as to say, “I enjoyed hurting people.” After primary school, William went on to attend Brasenose College at Oxford University. His father hoped he would become a scientist, but William opted to study English literature instead. In 1934, a year before he graduated, William published his first work entitled Poems.


After college, Golding worked in settlement houses and the theater for a time. Eventually, he decided to follow in his father’s footsteps and in 1935 Golding took a position teaching English and philosophy at Bishop Wordsworth’s School in Salisbury. Golding’s experience teaching unruly young boys would later serve as inspiration for his novel Lord of the Flies. In 1940 Golding temporarily abandoned the profession to join the Royal Navy and fight in World War II.

Royal Navy

Golding spent six years on a boat, except for a seven-month stint in New York. While in the Royal Navy, Golding developed a lifelong romance with sailing and the sea. During World War II, he fought battleships. Of his World War II experiences, Golding has said, “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.” Like his teaching experience, Golding’s participation in the war would prove to be fruitful material for his fiction.In 1945, after World War II had ended, Golding went back to teaching and writing.

Lord of the Flies

In 1954, after 21 rejections, Golding published his first and most acclaimed novel, Lord of the Flies. The novel told the gripping story of a group of adolescent boys stranded on a deserted island after a plane wreck. Lord of the Flies explored the savage side of human nature as the boys, let loose from the constraints of society, brutally turned against one another in the face of an imagined enemy. Riddled with symbolism, the book set the tone for Golding’s future work, in which he continued to examine man’s internal struggle between good and evil. Since its publication, the novel has been widely regarded as a classic. In 1963 Peter Brook made a film adaptation of the critically acclaimed novel. Two decades later, at the age of 73, Golding was awarded the 1983 Nobel Prize for Literature. In 1988 he was knighted by England’s Queen Elizabeth II. In 1990 a new film version of the Lord of the Flies was released, bringing the book to the attention of a new generation of readers.

Death and Legacy

Golding spent the last few years of his life quietly living with his wife, Ann Brookfield, at their house near Falmouth, Cornwall, where he continued writing. On June 19, 1993, Golding died of a heart attack in Perranarworthal, Cornwall. Among the most successful novels of Golding’s writing career were Rites of Passage (winner of the 1980 Booker McConnell Prize), Pincher Martin, Free Fall and The Pyramid.


The notion of exile

Narratives of Diaspora and Exile in Arabic and Palestinian Poetry

Saddik M. Gohar

United Arab Emirates University

1) Read.

Ian Buruma, in an article entitled, ‘Real Wounds, Unreal Wounds: The Romance of Exile’, argues:

Exile as a metaphor did not begin with the Jewish Diaspora. The first story of exile in our tradition is the story of Adam and Eve. No matter how we interpret the story of their expulsion from the Garden of Eden — original sin or not — we may be certain of one thing: There is no way back to paradise. After that fatal bite of the apple, the return to pure innocence was cut off forever. The exile of Adam and Eve is the mark of maturity, the consequence of growing up. An adult can only recall the state of childlike innocence in his imagination; and from this kind of exile a great deal of literature has emerged. (Buruma 2001: 3)

 Whether associated with the Jewish Diaspora or the fall from Eden, exile may be viewed as the forced or self-imposed moving away from one’s homeland. Thus, exile becomes a signifier not only of living outside one’s place of origin but also of the inner condition caused by such a physical absence. At the same time, exile may also connote the exclusively spiritual, intellectual or even existential condition of someone who is alienated from the surrounding community. Whether exile is physical or existential, spiritual or intellectual, it has always been a source of inspiration for poets and writers. As Buruma argues, the exilic experience has triggered a great deal of literature characterised by “the melancholy knowledge that we can never return to Eden” (3).

 Because the Palestinians, like the Jews, were destined to live in Diaspora – moving from exile into exile – Darwish wonders about the location of the next refugee camp. Nevertheless, he reveals that the bleeding wounds of the Palestinian refugees will blossom into fields of olive trees:

 Where shall we go, after the last frontier? Where will birds be flying, after the last sky?

Where will plants find a place to rest, after the last expanse of air?

We will write our names in crimson vapor.

We will cut off the hand of song, so that our flesh can complete the song.

Here we will die. Here in the last narrow passage. Or here our blood will plant

– its olive trees (Jayyusi 1987:208).

 2)Pick up at least 5 words in the above text which embody the notion of exile :

 3)To what extent are Jews related to the notion of exile ?


4)Choose one of the work to do

a)Write a poem on exile and find pictures or drawings to illustrate it.

b)Write a narrative or short-story about exile with illustrations

c)Write a letter in which you deal with exile.

d)Find a work of art on the internet (selection of poems, pictures, extracts from a novel) dealing with exile). Justify your choice.

Extract from « The world of the flies » by W.Golding


lord of the flies

Understanding the facts

1. Say what this passage depicts; explain what has happened and what the boys have been doing.

2. Focus on the children: how do they appear to the officer?

3. Focus on the officer’s questions and on his reactions to Ralph’s answers: what are his feelings?

4. What do the children do in the last paragraph? Why, in your opinion?


5. Compare the officer and the children: what would you say the officer stands for?

6. “I should have thought that a pack of British boys—you’re all British aren’t you?—would have been able to put up a better show than that—I mean—” (lines 48-52): what does the officer mean?

7. Focus on the narrator’s comments on what the children have gone through. What is the nature of these comments?


8. How can this passage be seen as an illustration of what a Voyage and Return story is intended to do? What is there to learn in that type of story?

He staggered to his feet, tensed for more terrors, and looked up at a huge peaked cap.It was a white-topped cap, and above the green shade of the peak was a crown, an anchor, gold foliage. He saw white drill, epaulettes, a revolver, a row of gilt buttons down the front of a uniform. […]

The officer looked at Ralph doubtfully for a moment, then took his hand away from the butt of the revolver.


Squirming a little, conscious of his fi lthy appearance, Ralph answered shyly.


The officer nodded as if a question had been answered.

“Are there any adults—any grown-ups with you?”

Dumbly, Ralph shook his head. He turned a half-pace on the sand. A semi-circle of little boys, their bodies streaked with colored clay, sharp sticks in their hands, were standing on the beach making no noise at all.

“Fun and games,” said the officer.

The fire reached the coconut palms by the beach and swallowed them noisily. A flame,seemingly detached, swung like an acrobat and licked up the palm heads on the platform.

The sky was black.

The officer grinned cheerfully at Ralph.

“We saw your smoke. What have you been doing? Having a war or something?”

Ralph nodded.

The offi cer inspected the little scarecrow in front of him. The kid needed a bath, a haircut, a nose-wipe and a good deal of ointment.

“Nobody killed, I hope? Any dead bodies?”

“Only two. And they’ve gone.”

The offi cer leaned down and looked closely at Ralph.

“Two? Killed?”

Ralph nodded again. Behind him, the whole island was shuddering with fl ame. The officer knew, as a rule, when people were telling the truth. He whistled softly.

Other boys were appearing now, tiny tots some of them, brown with the distended bellies of small savages. One of them came close to the officer and looked up.

“I’m, I’m—”

But there was no more to come. Percival Wemys Madison sought in his head for an incantation that had faded clean away.

The officer turned back to Ralph.

“We’ll take you off . How many of you are there?”

Ralph shook his head. The offi cer looked past him to the group of painted boys.

“Who’s boss here?”

“I am,” said Ralph loudly.

A little boy who wore the remains of an extraordinary black cap on his red hair and who carried the remains of a pair of spectacles at his waist, started forward, then changed his mind and stood still.

“We saw your smoke. And you don’t know how many of you there are?”

“No, sir.”

“I should have thought,” said the officer as he visualized the search before him, “I should have thought that a pack of British boys—you’re all British aren’t you?—would have been able to put up a better show than that—I mean—”

“It was like that at first,” said Ralph,”before things—”

He stopped.

“We were together then—” The officer nodded helpfully.

“I know. Jolly good show. Like the Coral Island.”

Ralph looked at him dumbly. For a moment he had a fl eeting picture of the strange glamour that had once invested the beaches. But the island was scorched up like dead wood—Simon was dead— and Jack had… The tears began to fl ow and sobs shook him. He gave himself up to them now for the first time on the island; great, shuddering spasms of grief that seemed to wrench his whole body. His voice rose under the black smoke before the burning wreckage of the island; and infected by that emotion, the other little boys began to shake and sob too. And in the middle of them, with filthy body, matted hair, and unwiped nose, Ralph wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of man’s heart, and the fall through the air of the true, wise friend called Piggy.

William Golding, Lord of the Flies (1954)


Here are two extracts of two versions of the ending scene of » Lord of the flies ». Compare the two versions.



Extract 2 from Robinson Crusoe by D.Defoe



 Is Robinson the same man he was in the first extract? To what extent has he evolved ?

How would you qualify his relation with Friday ? Justify your answer.

His face was round and plump;his nose small, not flat, like the negroes; a very good mouth,thin lips, and his fine teeth well set, and as white as ivory. After he had slumbered, rather than slept, about half-an hour, he awoke again, and came out of the cave to me: for I had been milking my goats which I had in the enclosure just by: when he espied me he came running to me, laying himself down again upon the ground, with all the possible signs of an humble, thankful disposition, making a great many antic gestures to show it. At last he lays his head flat upon the ground, close to my foot, and sets my other foot upon his head, as he had done before; and after this made all the signs to me of subjection, servitude, and submission imaginable, to let me know how he would serve me so long as he lived. I understood him in many things, and let him know I was very well pleased with him. In a little time I began to speak to him; and teach him to speak to me: and first, I let him know his name should be Friday, which was the day I saved his life: I called him so for the memory of the time. I likewise taught him to say Master; and then let him know that was to be my name: I likewise taught him to say Yes and No and to know the meaning of them. I gave him some milk in an earthen pot, and let him see me drink it before him, and sop my bread in it; and gave him a cake of bread to do the like, which he quickly complied with, and made signs that it was very good for him. I kept there with him all that night; but as soon as it was day I beckoned to him to come with me, and let him know I would give him some clothes; at which he seemed very glad, for he was stark naked. As we went by the place where he had buried the two men, he pointed exactly to the place, and showed me the marks that he had made to find them again, making signs to me that we should dig them up again and eat them. At this I appeared very angry, expressed my abhorrence of it, made as if I would vomit at the thoughts of it, and beckoned with my hand to him to come away, which he did immediately, with great submission. I then led him up to the top of the hill, to see if his enemies were gone; and pulling out my glass I looked, and saw plainly the place where they had been, but no appearance of them or their canoes; so that it was plain they were gone…

When he had done this, we came back to our castle; and there I fell to work for my man Friday; and first of all, I gave him a pair of linen drawers, which I had out of the poor gunner’s chest I mentioned, which I found in the wreck, and which, with a little alteration, fitted him very well… gave him a cap which I made of hare’s skin, very convenient, and fashionable enough; and thus he was clothed, for the present, tolerably well, and was mighty well pleased to see himself almost as well clothed as his master. It is true he went awkwardly in these clothes at first: wearing the drawers was very awkward to him, and the sleeves of the waistcoat galled his shoulders and the inside of his arms; but a little easing them where he complained they hurt him, and using himself to them, he took to them at length very well.

The next day, after I came home to my hutch with him, I began to consider where I should lodge him…

Daniel DEFOE, Robinson Crusoe, An Electronic Classics Series Publication, p.177