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"A pack of British boys"

A study of erasure of class, culture, and gender in William Golding’s Lord of the Flies


  • Hampus Siöland

Summary, in English

Lord of the Flies (1954) by William Golding is seen by many as a portrait of the violent darkness of human nature, and how all of humanity will revert to a savage state in the absence of civilisation. This essay argues that this is not accurate, since the book only presents the actions of a group of British boys, among which the majority of the violent acts are performed by boys who are most likely from an upper class background. This is put into the context of literary erasure, meaning the exclusion of social groups other than the most powerful ones in literary works. The essay also discusses elements in the book which by today’s standards carry a racist tone, along with speculations regarding the author’s intentions of not including female characters, and how these reasons are quite far-fetched. The book’s portrayal of femininity as something weak and inefficient, and traditionally masculine qualities as the optimal stuff of leadership is also considered in the discussion. It concludes with a confirmation of the thesis that the book is representative of Western males from a hierarchical class system.


Publishing year




Document type

Student publication for Bachelor's degree


  • Languages and Literatures


  • Golding
  • erasure
  • gender
  • Lord of the Flies
  • racism
  • sexism
  • humanity
  • human nature
  • William Golding
  • British
  • culture
  • class


  • Birgitta Berglund (FD)