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#452637 - 11/06/13 04:35 AM Re: William golding is an ignorant moron! [Re: dark empathy]
dark empathy Offline
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MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 1963
Loc: durham, north england
Well Jacob I agree on that point, though bare in mind Golding's comments which I objected to were not a note on the original manuscript, but something he personally added to his reading of the audio book which i believe he recorded in 2004 as marking the 50th aniversery of the original publication of Lord of the Flies. So, really he should know better or have changed his views by now.

Regarding assumptions, well I do think it's a mistake in a lot of ways to follow the literary theory path and try to read into books assumptions that aren't there to begin with. For example, the Hunger Games society does feature as one of it's twelve districts district eleven, the agricultural district all of the population of which are dark skinned and who are harshly treated by the over all authority (more harshly than in Catness district twelve). I could imagine someone ultra sensative to racial issues objecting to this practice and claiming that Colins in some way endorced the idea that dark skinned people were only fit for such simple, meanial work, ---- however such an assumption is never made in the book, the oppression of people in district eleven is just as much abhored as the oppression of any other group and there isn't particularly any distinction or assumptions made of the intelligence, compassion or any other features of characters from district eleven at all.

Likewise, had Golding not! given such an explanation, I'd never have assumed anything gender related about Lord of the Flies at all, since with characters who are all boys there would be no gender issues. yes, the author might have had! assumptions to begin with but those aren't carried out in his work.

It's sort of the difference between Lord of the Rings, where Tolkien freely explained that the reason he had no female members of the fellowship was simply that he viewed it like an expedition to the north pole, and at the time he wrote the book it was simply not a possibility to take women on such an expedition. And Robert Jordan's wheel of Time, where he actively has the cosmology of the world split into male and female magic power and where all male or female characters tend to act in a very specific way according to their gender.

I can quite happily read books written in times when over all background assumptions were different and not object since the author was writing them in their own cultural context, however it's when authors explicitly state! sexist, racist, homophobic or other objectionable views and indorce them in the creation of their world or characters that I tend to be a little bothered.

As another example, much as I greatly admire C S Lewis, I can't get past the fact that his only portrayal of a gay character is Miss Hardcastle in his third space trilogy novel, That Hidious Strength, who is portrayed as a sadistic and domineering s/xual predator and explicitly aligned with evil expressly because! of her being a lesbian. I also dislike his assumption of gender in the roll of cosmology or theology.

While this doesn't stop me enjoying much else in his workand considdering it both important and valuable, I can't deny the man had some majorly wrong headed assumptions, and indeed That Hidious Strength is a little spoilt because of them, (I much prefer the first two books of the space trilogy which simply involve other planets mythology and theology).

Then again suggesting as some people have that The White Witch in Narnia was a Lesbian seems waaaaaay! over board, the White Witch was a sorceress and a witch, end of story laugh.

Then again of Lewis most contravertial statement about gender and the one which has got him into most trouble, his statement in The Last Battle that "susan was only interested in nylons and clothes and invitations" I tend to think sympathetically not that this was implying that Susan shouldn't! have grown up into a woman (as indeed Jk Rowling has argued), after all he freely had a lot of grown up female characters in similar books and was quite okay with the idea of mariage and relationships, as per aravis in Horse and his boy, but that Susan's interest in such things to the exclusion of everything else was wrong (something which is confirmed by Polly who says "she runs to the silliest age of her life and will spend the rest of her life trying to remain there"

Again, taking what the author says! not assuming what he says.

Actually all of this sort of speculation does rather make me want to begin on my attempts at fiction again, it's always something I wanted to do, but haven't tried for quite a few years.

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#452685 - 11/06/13 02:11 PM Re: William golding is an ignorant moron! [Re: dark empathy]
traveler Offline
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Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 3373
Loc: somewhere in Africa
i seen to remember reading at one time that another reason that WG did not include girls in LOTF was that he did not want to complicate the main point of his premise with other distracting issues such as sexual tension. the presence of females - especially for the older characters who were probably at the beginning of puberty - could have taken everything very quickly off-course - or have made for a much longer and more complex novel.

not saying you are wrong about his misunderstanding of the gender-neutral nature of human depravity - just saying that it wasn't the only reason that girls were excluded.

LEE
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#452745 - 11/07/13 03:36 AM Re: William golding is an ignorant moron! [Re: dark empathy]
dark empathy Offline
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MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 1963
Loc: durham, north england
Well Lee Golding did also note that fact in his authors notes as to why he'd not included female as well as male castaways, and I can see his logic there, (although as we all know just having a group of people of the same gender at age 12 doesn't actually preclude! all s/xual themes).

My objection was his assumption that a group of girls wouldn't! have broken down to the same point of savagery as he perceived a group of boys doing simply because girls were inherently morally superior.

Interestingly enough though, a book I read last year was william Sleater's 1975 novel House of stairs, said to be the inspiration for the cult film cube.

That involved five teenagers, two male, three femalein an isolated setting being forced to undergo a form of pavlovian conditioning, and while there is! some s/xual element, it's not a major theme of the book or people's responses, indeed if you want to read a book about real courage of a young boy and girl and a showing how some! people can become savage, while some not, and how group pressure can be both applied and resisted, I can heartily recommend it.

Again, much! less simple than Golding, albeit I really thought the ending was rather flat.


Edited by dark empathy (11/07/13 03:42 AM)

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#452799 - 11/07/13 07:27 PM Re: William golding is an ignorant moron! [Re: dark empathy]
Suwanee Offline
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MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/30/12
Posts: 706
Loc: Southeast USA
Oh Beelzebub!

First off, I think Golding was naive in his supposition that girls were not capable of savagery. As others may have said, using boys instead of girls is imperative perhaps because of the belief that boys' depravity makes for a better visual---arrows, fire, flood---the apparent savagery vs. the "hidden" depravity.

Today we know better…"Orange is the New Black", "Hunger Games", etc… Even so, I think as a class, girls may have a broader capacity for empathy, sympathy, and nurture, but it's not solely their province. Stealth depravity...they may be rarer, but women/girls are entirely capable of effective violence and torment--perhaps because of their supposed deeper understanding of the psyche. Then again, maybe I'm not far enough removed from Golding's opinion?

I always identified with "Simon" btw.

Will
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#453022 - 11/09/13 06:20 AM Re: William golding is an ignorant moron! [Re: dark empathy]
dark empathy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 1963
Loc: durham, north england
Hi Will.

One problem is there is a lot of socialization. From a very young age, even if girl's aren't actively forced to behave in a gender specific way, they are bombarded with the idea of the woman as carer, mother, the idea that empathy and compassion and taking care of others is not mearly moral, but an inherent part of being female because a person is! female, look at dolls and other toys which corporate advertising foists onto girls as opposed to boys (when is the last time you saw an advert saying "hay girls! take this gun and blow stuff up!"

This isn't to say sterriotypical female gender socialization automatically makes better morality, after all it has a lot of shallowness and dependence and appearence to it too, (myself I hate both gender sterriotypes equally), however this is probably why the appearence seems to be women have greater empathy.

Indeed I remember being five and at school and the teacher asking me what my parents job was, and me saying my dad was a doctor, and then having the teacher (who knew my parents and that my dad was a nurse), explaining patiently to me that no, a doctor wasn't always a man and a nurse always a woman.


All that being said Will, with respect I've myself seen and been on the recieving end of what happens when girls have no empathy or emotional development. My own abuse wasn't some sort of soccubus style mental torture, it was violent, and crude and unsutle, indeed it is something of an irony that all the violence I experienced from boys at the time was mostly none s/xual in nature.

So this is why I personally applaud orange being the new black as you put it.

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