R. M. Ballantyne's The Coral Island

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Lord of the Flies by William Golding is about the nature of man, his essential being and the inherent evil in him. It is about discovering the darkness in man’s heart. One is obliged to look within oneself and see the lurking darkness (evil) there. Evil is in man’s heart, only it needs to be recognized to weaken its grip. The devil is not present in any traditional or religious sense. Golding’s Beelzebub is the modern equivalent of the anarchical, amoral driving force that Freudians call the ‘Id.’ The novel suggests that institutions and order imposed from without are only temporary, but that man’s irrationality and his urge to be primitive and to destroy is enduring. Civilization is only a mask. Keywords: evil, human nature, civilization,…show more content…
In the island, the boys construct a society which comes crashing in “blood and terror because the boys are suffering from the terrible disease of being human” (Golding, “Fable” The Hot Gates 89). The comparison with R.M. Ballantyne’s The Coral Island is remarkable: it forms a literary background. In The Coral Island an optimistic view of English boys’ courage and resourcefulness is presented which Golding refutes in his novel and goes much beyond it. Both the books deal with the problem of evil but from totally different perspectives. In The coral Island, Victorian “smugness, ignorance and prosperity” (Golding, “Fable” The Hot Gates 88) is presented. Evil comes from outside. While in Lord of the Flies it comes from within. The novel is meant for adults. It is concerned with violence and innate evil in human nature. It purports to show the ‘idealized’ boys to be ‘fake.’ Ballantyne’s English boys hunt not for sport but in order to eat; in Golding the school choir hunt solely for sport and the pleasure of
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