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A Diligent Biography of William Golding

“A diligent biography of William Golding doesn’t fully capture the creative madness of its subject, finds Peter Conrad”. How could one’s life be so eventful and tragic for someone to not fully capture everything about that person in a detailed biography? Was there ever such a human being in existence? According to writer Peter Conrad, there was.

Hi Mr. Persad, my name is Zain Qureshi and today, i will be talking to you about a fascinating article I found on The Guardian by Peter Conrad, written on 30th august, 2009.

critiquing a biography written on William Golding by British literary professor and writer John Carey.

Throughout the article, Conrad points out crucial aspects missing from the biography that do not uncover some of Golding’s darkest, deepest secrets. He mentions John Carey’s inability to document Golding’s Orge-like antics, stating that ” there may be a primal scene, a hidden obscenity, that still eludes him”. Conrad talks about the conflicted journey in the publishing of Golding’s novel Lord of the flies, one of his greatest literary works ever written.

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He talks about the contrasting ideologies of extremity and bestiality contained in this novel to RM Ballantyne’s “natively imperialist theory” the coral island. Along with that, he explores some of the most tragic life events occurred in the life of William Golding.

One of the most prominent themes present in the article is the loss of innocence, portrayed by the Golding’s tragic life events discussed throughout the article.

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Using Reader Response theory, the author connects this idea to his own life, stating that “my innocence came to an end when I opened Lord of the Flies”. This idea also makes its presence known in Timothy FIndley’s The Wars, a book where Robert Ross, the main character of the story, goes through several events through his life that cause him to lose his innocence. Similarly, the video interpretation of Men in Black by Colby Buzzell portrays several themes, including loss of innocence outlined by a soldier struggling to deal with the aftermath of war.

Freudian concepts are also used to discuss the life events of Golding. The Freudian splits the mind into three different sections : the conscious, which includes our thoughts and perceptions ; the subconscious, which includes our memory and stored knowledge, and the unconscious, which includes immoral urges, violent motives, etc. In the article, Conrad discusses several events in Golding’s life that show a high dominance of elements from the unconscious mind, such as : his sexual assault on a 15 year old girl,

used throughout the article to explore the high dominance of the unconscious part in Golding’s mentality. as many of his life experiences are discussed, including

Biographical criticism is also prevalent throughout the article, as Conrad discusses the tragic life events of William Golding, a direct depiction of the characters and events contained in some of Golding’s literary works.

Conrad makes use of numerous literary devices that are crucial elements that engage the reader into the article. He uses hyperbole to describe the impact of Golding’s novel on the overall cultural impact of the novel, stating ” God may have died, but the Devil was flourishing, especially in English public schools”. Using simile, he describes Golding’s mentality in a unique but intriguing way, stating that “His imagination lodged a horde of demons, buzzing like flies inside his haunted head, and his dreams rehearsed his guilt in scenarios that read like sketches for incidents in his novels, which they often were.” He describes Golding’s

Overall, I agree with Peter Conrad and his reasons on why the biography written by John Carey is unable to show the “creative madness” of William Golding. I would recommend anyone watching to read this article as it is filled with captivating yet engaging discussion of life events of author William Golding. Using key literary elements, Conrad is able to make the article intriguing yet fascinating while keeping the readers hooked by the uncensored nature of the tragic life of William Golding.

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A Diligent Biography of William Golding. (2019, Nov 25). Retrieved from

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