Lord of the flies vs. the narrative of the life of frederick douglass

Throughout history theme has always been the crucial element to writing a successful novel. Today it seems if an author fails to portray his or her theme adequately the point of which the author is trying to convey will be ignored. During their careers, William Golding and Fredrick Douglass have used writing as a tool to communicate penetrating messages and ominous warnings about our society. Golding’s novel Lord of the Flies and Douglass’ novel The Narrative of the Life of Fredrick Douglass both represent the loss of innocence a person may endure while undergoing a horrific situation. On the surface, these two novels are dramatically different; a huge factor being one is fiction while the other is non-fiction. However, a closer assessment of both pieces reveals that both contain common themes and ideas. Examining and comparing the two novels and their presentation of a similar theme provides a unique insight into both the novels and their authors. One of the most prevalent themes in Douglass’ work is loss of innocence. He makes it extremely clear in the early pages of his novel that slavery robbed him of his innocence. In the opening of the novel Douglass makes it clear to the reader that he is not sure of which the exact year he was born, because shortly after birth slaves are torn from their mothers, and given a blank life at a new location. Douglass was never allowed the nurturing and playfulness that most children receive in their early stages of life. ” Never having enjoyed, to any considerable extent, her soothing presence, her tender and watchful care, I received the tidings of [my mother’s] death with much the same emotions I should have probably felt at the death of a stranger” (Douglass). The separation from his mother that Douglass describes was done purposely ensure that Douglass did not develop familial feelings toward his mother. He shows the reader through vivid imagery of his experiences, how his innocence was stripped from him due to the cruelty of his several different masters. Douglass devotes large parts of his Narrative to explanations of how slaves are not born but rather made, and molded by their masters. He explains that slaves never get the chance to grow up on their on will, and become who they want to be, but they are rather a reflection of who their master wants them to be. If their master teaches them from the time of birth to be timid and to never question his authority that is who they will be. His whole narrative is seemingly based upon that theory, and his battle to finally rid himself of who he was sculpted to be, and become his own person. Similarly in Lord of the Flies, Golding uses the changes in the personalities of a group of boys marooned on an Island to portray his views on how fragile innocence really is. Golding does a tremendous job at easing in to the transition of the boys personalities throughout the chapters of the novel. While reading the novel the audience sees the boys naturally lose the innocence that they once possessed in the early chapters of the novel. We see the children go from well behaved, proper young men to bloodthirsty, seemingly damned savages. The painted savages in Chapter three who have hunted, tortured, and killed animals and humans are a far cry from the carefree children swimming in the lagoon in Chapter three. But as the audience begins to notice Golding does not view this loss of innocence as something that is done to the children, but is rather the cause of their inner ” evils” beginning to be set free. When the children first arrived on the island, they were still acting as though they were at home in the confinement of society and were still being required to act proper. But as the novel unfolds the characters begin to become more open within themselves, realizing that they were the now solely responsible for themselves, thus allowing their savagery to naturally ” blind” them. Golding implies that the civilization can sedate but never completely wipe out the innate evil that exists within all human beings. ” Ralph wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of man’s heart, and the fall through the air of a true, wise friend called Piggy” (Golding). These lines from the end of Chapter 12 occur near the close of the novel, after the boys encounter a naval officer, who appears as if out of nowhere to save them. The rescue is not a moment of undeniable joy, for Ralph realizes that, although he is saved from death on the island, he will never be the same. He has lost his innocence and learned about the evil that lurks within all human beings. Although Lord of the Flies and The Narrative of the Life of Fredrick Douglass share common themes, the presentation of each of the themes is different in each book. Douglass he makes statements by playing on his emotions, and presents his themes through subtle, but powerful stories. While Golding makes his statements by using a sort of twisted humor, and using vivid adjectives to try an enable the audience to put themselves in the place of his characters. These authors’ goals are to get readers to re-examine, not necessarily to change, their lives, morals, and values. Themes, such as loss of innocence, are as old as literature itself, these authors adds a unique twist to them, inviting the reader to look at these issues from an entirely new perspective.