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The Subverted World: The Interpretation of Lord of the Flies from the Perspective of the Bakhtinian Theory of Carnivalization

Author Zhang
Tutor GuoHaiYun
School Beijing Jiaotong University
Course English Language and Literature
Keywords William Golding Lord of the Flies Mikhail Bakhtin carnivalization
CLC I561.074
Type Master's thesis
Year 2012
Downloads 152
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William Golding is one of the most prominent novelists Britain had ever produced in the20th century. His major contribution to the British literature lies in his first book Lord of the Flies, which won him Nobel Prize. By depicting the tragedy of a group of British boys marooned on a tropical island, Golding discusses an old motif about evil human nature. Mikhail Bakhtin, a Russian linguist, philosopher, and literary critic, puts forward the theory of carnivalization after closely studying the carnival festival in the medieval Europe. Bakhtin associates carnival with literature, and points out the subversive effect of the spirit of carnival upon the hierarchical order. It is not difficult to find that there is an underlying connection between the novel and the theory in terms of the elements such as characters, images and theme, etc.This thesis is a kind of effort to interpret Lord of the Flies from the perspective of the Bakhtinian theory of carnivalization. It is divided into five parts. Chapter1is the introduction to the biography of William Golding and the content of Lord of the Flies followed by the biography of Mikhail Bakhtin and his theory of carnivalization. Chapter2discusses the influence exerted upon the novel by the author’s experiences, and the novel’s revolutionary idea against the traditional British island literature in terms of the nature of human beings. Chapter3examines the different characters in the light of the crowning and decrowning of the carnival king. Chapter4analyses the dualistic nature of the carnivalized images such as fire, laughter, and the Lord of the Flies, and also studies the carnivalized space and time on the island. Chapter5is the summary of the previous chapters.Briefly speaking, the thesis is a special analysis of Lord of the Flies in the light of the Bakhtinian theory of carnivalization. It can be counted as an effort to enrich the study of the novel as well as Bakhtin’s theory of carnivalization. Because of the limitation of time and space, there are inevitable flaws in this thesis and it needs further improvements to be made better.

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