Last Updated: Mar 4, 2014
Why we study Lord of the Flies and why you should care.
William Golding's Lord of the Flies explores the struggle between good and evil and was born out of the author's own life experiences. Golding fought in World War II and was part of a generation that witnessed some of man's cruelest acts. To many it seemed that what we gained in technological progress we lost in moral vision.
Below are links to the various world events that made a strong impression on Golding's generation.
- The Holocaust (1933-1945)
The Holocaust ("Ha-Shoah" in Hebrew) refers to the period from January 30, 1933 - when Adolf Hitler became chancellor of Germany - to May 8, 1945, when the war in Europe officially ended. During this time, Jews in Europe were subjected to progressively harsher persecution that ultimately led to the murder of 6,000,000 Jews (1.5 million of these being children) and the destruction of 5,000 Jewish communities. These deaths represented two-thirds of European Jewry and one-third of all world Jewry.
- The Rape of Nanking (1937)
The Nanking Massacre or Nanjing Massacre, also known as the Rape of Nanking, was a mass murder and war that occurred during the six-week period following the Japanese capture of the city of Nanjing (Nanking), the former capital of the Republic of China, on December 13, 1937. During this period, hundreds of thousands of Chinese civilians and disarmed soldiers were murdered by soldiers of the Imperial Japanese Army. Widespread rape and looting also occurred. Historians and witnesses have estimated that 250,000 to 300,000 people were killed. Several of the key perpetrators of the atrocities, at the time labelled as war crimes, were later tried and found guilty at the Nanjing War Crimes Tribunal, and were subsequently executed.
- Stalin's Starvation of the Ukraine (1933)
The Holodomor (literal translation: Killing by Hunger) was a man-made famine in the Ukrainian SSR between 1932 and 1933. During the famine, which is also known as the "terror-famine in Ukraine" and "famine-genocide in Ukraine", millions of Ukrainians died of starvation in a peacetime catastrophe unprecedented in the history of Ukraine
- The Dropping of the Atomic Bombs on Hiroshima & Nagasaki (1945)
During the final stages of World War II in 1945, the United States conducted two atomic bombings against the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan. In both cities, most of the dead were civilians. These two events are the only use of nuclear weapons in war to date. The role of the bombings in Japan's surrender and their ethical justification are still debated.
- Philip Zimbardo: The Psychology of Evil
Philip Zimbardo knows how easy it is for nice people to turn bad. In this talk, he shares insights and graphic unseen photos from the Abu Ghraib trials. Then he talks about the flip side: how easy it is to be a hero, and how we can rise to the challenge.
- Chris Abani: "On Humanity"
Chris Abani tells stories of people: People standing up to soldiers. People being compassionate. People being human and reclaiming their humanity. It's "ubuntu," he says: the only way for me to be human is for you to reflect my humanity back at me."