The Inheritors

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Contents

  1. The Inheritors - William Golding
  2. Rereadings: The Inheritors by William Golding
  3. 'This was a different voice; not the voice of the people. It was the voice of other'.
  4. The Inheritors: the intimate secrets in William Golding's Neanderthal tale

Peaceful hunter gatherers with an earth-mother religion, they do not understand tools, nor can they formulate complex thoughts, they speak simply and also they communicate telepathically through pictures. One day they smell strangers nearby and gradually the become aware of a tribe of Homo Sapiens the new people who have come up the river in dug out canoes and are camping on a river island.

The new people steal the Neanderthal children and kill the tribe elders, only Lok and Fa, a man and woman, are left, and they set out to rescue the children. Despite being written in simple language this is quite a difficult book to read. This is because WIlliam Golding has chosen to tell the story in style that suggest a Neanderthal mindset. As he spies on the homo sapiens a lot of their behaviour is alien to him. The structure of their minds seems to prevent them from escaping innocence, they cannot break Nature's social union. They seem even incapable of sexual violence towards each other a concern for Golding who assaulted a teenaged girl as a young man, you can see these first two novels as driven by the memory of that.

Nor will they kill an animal view spoiler [except apparently frogs, frogs it seems, were fair game hide spoiler ] but will only scavenge those killed by other beasts. Their nature has to be sweet to be in absolute contrast to the modern humans. These are creatures born of Thomas Hobbes' imagination; fearful, inventive and dangerous. They are capable of anything, they travel against the current, up stream, up and over a waterfall. They will not live in nature's embrace. Yet the Neanderthals can only look on them with wonder, apprehension and love. The introduction makes play with the difference between Golding's parents.

His father representing a rational and scientific outlook, his mother a more mystical and spiritual one.

The Inheritors - William Golding

In Lord of the Flies those elements are mixed among the boys here Golding creates a sense of a deeper cleavage, the mystical and the spiritual are modern human modes of being that don't seem even to approximate the Neanderthals pure existence in nature. So completely a part of it that disobedience and sin would be impossible for them. I am still not sure what to make of this novel, here is another genuine spoiler view spoiler [ the Homo Sapiens call the Neanderthals 'Devils' and there is a long sequence in which Lok and the Neanderthal woman Fa are hidden in a tree and watch the doings of 'the new people'.

They see the Old Man attempting to eat in private the meat he is hiding from the others, they see them getting drunk, they see the sex or rape? Lok, watching is aroused. Who else watches 'the new people' and is aroused by their love - Lucifer in Paradise Lost which Golding is playfully inverting here. View all 24 comments. Jul 04, Brad rated it it was amazing Shelves: I read this twice in close succession. I read it, then I read it again. The two readings were necessary, and not because William Golding failed in any way, but because his novel, The Inheritors welcomes so much failure from his readers -- I don't say this lightly.

I taught this for the first time this year, and it was beyond my first year university students. It challenges readers to work hard.

Rereadings: The Inheritors by William Golding

It challenges readers to pay attention. It challenges readers to empathize. It challenges readers to think about themselves and humanity. It challenges readers to consider other ways of seeing the world.

It challenges readers to question the things they hold true. It challenges readers to look in the mirror. It challenges readers to actually read! The Inheritors is a damning criticism of us and what makes us us. It is an attack on the civilizing drive of humans and a call to consider the wreckage we left behind and continue to create.

Mostly it is a scream into a vaccuum that swallows all sound, reminding me of my favourite contemporary authors, like ki hope , who can imagine others that the rest of us wouldn't even remember let alone imagine. It reminds me how much I miss the people The Inheritors is a difficult read.

But a necessary one for anyone who cares about life and living. View all 5 comments. Nov 22, Nandakishore Varma rated it really liked it. William Golding has a very low opinion of the homo sapiens. He has made it clear in Lord of the Flies , where a group of boys stranded on an island after a plane crash very soon revert to savagery.

In this book, Golding makes another damning accusation: The book is written from the POV of the Neanderthals, a species of hominids who disappeared from prehistory as humanity advanced triumphantly. Even though we still do not know the William Golding has a very low opinion of the homo sapiens. Even though we still do not know the reasons for their disappearance fully, Golding is pretty sure - they were wiped out by the murderous homo sapiens. In this book, we see these peaceful race ruthlessly subjugated and then wiped out by the stronger species.

What Golding does through this narrative is not provide a plausible reason for the disappearance of the Neanderthals: And what the reader sees is not pleasant. The Inheritors is a rare attempt to portray the human race from the outside looking in: As a palaeontological study this book may not be strictly accurate or even fully convincing, but as a prose experiment it's frankly astonishing and exactly the sort of thing top-level novelists should be trying to do. The efforts to give us a sense of how life was lived for The Inheritors is a rare attempt to portray the human race from the outside looking in: The efforts to give us a sense of how life was lived for a more primitive sub- species can be very moving.

We know, of course, that Neanderthals didn't last, and Golding makes the most of this in-built pathos from the very start. Their encounter with Homo sapiens will show them that other creatures have no such qualms. Golding's moral — that humans attained their prominence only because they were unusually destructive — can be argued with, but is no less powerful when dramatised like this. Actually, let me turn that around and say: Golding's moral may be powerful, but it can still be argued with. The book has been rightly praised for its unflinching assessment of the human character, but to make his point he has to ignore those facts that go against it.

It's probably disingenuous to portray the Neanderthals as nature-loving folk who abhor murder; what makes humans destructive is not a qualitative difference with other animals, but an intelligence which allows us to be cruel on a much larger scale. What bothers me is not the book's argument, which is brilliantly made, but rather a response to the book which assumes that this is the whole story. But equally, those who want to see us as purely cruel and instinctive are taking Golding's message without remembering the crucial point that his species is able to write a book at all, and willing at least to try to inhabit the thoughts and feelings of others.

This novel is a dark and wonderful thesis, but its existence holds the clue to its own counter-argument. Dec 30, Doug H rated it it was ok. Mal was strong and find much food. He sleep in belly of Oa now. Ha is strong but Ha fall in water. Ha not like water! Lok is strong but Lok stupid. Lok not make good mind pictures.

Lok look for Ha and smell other man. Who is other man? View all 10 comments. Dec 14, Ensiform rated it really liked it Shelves: The story of the gentle, mostly vegetarian Neanderthal tribe that is all but obliterated in a meeting with wandering Homo sapiens. Discounting those passages, the novel was a good one, capped off quite amazingly with two more narrative voices. A skillful comment on how far humans have come from a natural state of innocence, acceptance and wonder. Jun 21, Stephen Bird rated it it was amazing. I am in awe of this book, Golding's craft, and his work in general I have also read "Lord of the Flies" and "Darkness Visible".

The writing itself, whatever one thinks of the plot, is transcendent. Whatever the Neanderthals lacked in intellectual capability, they more than made up for in their ability to use th I am in awe of this book, Golding's craft, and his work in general I have also read "Lord of the Flies" and "Darkness Visible". Whatever the Neanderthals lacked in intellectual capability, they more than made up for in their ability to use their senses, especially that of smell.

As well as their possible telekinetic activity, which would have been unencumbered by more advanced intellectual processes. Golding's Neanderthals have an intuitive grasp of their world that is lacking in the modern human; on the other hand, the Neanderthals also live more wholly at the mercy of "Oa" Mother Earth. The innocence of the Neanderthals is endearing, the "new people" Homo sapiens are dangerous and menacing.

I felt compassion for the Neanderthals, and contempt for "the new people". The prose within "The Inheritors" is highly poetic; Golding paints an intricate portrait of a primeval landscape, such as our planet will probably never experience again; this description in itself adds to the atmosphere of suspense the author creates in this novel.

It is not just that landscape in itself that is impressionable, but also how it is perceived by the Neanderthals and their "mind-dream-pictures"; -IE- the heightened colors seen by Lok during his hangover from the honey-drink. One of the major themes of this book focuses on the evolution of innocence into corruption; a problem that unfortunately still exists in humans today. Another theme is that of the Machiavellian nature of mankind as a whole, specifically in how that behaviour was starting to evolve in Golding's portrait of Homo sapiens.

Golding is a recent discovery of mine, and I am looking forward to reading more of his work. Aug 02, M. Johnson rated it it was amazing. Golding is a wonderful writer and this is a tremendously thought-provoking work. It has something to tell us about 'the fall of man' and the loss of innocence. Golding imagines the great forests at the crossover point for Neanderthals and Homo Sapiens. It is deeply tragic and quite shockingly violent. We see the world from the Neanderthals' point of view; they are in many ways like us but lack our imagination, clarity of thought, adaptability and most sadly our greed and brutality.

This is not Golding is a wonderful writer and this is a tremendously thought-provoking work. This is not an easy book to read as it is written as if we are looking at the world from the Neanderthal perspective and with a less analytical mind. Aug 02, Matthew rated it liked it. This might sound silly, but this small book of simple language confounded me. The story is told, not just by a Neanderthal, but by the dumbest Neanderthal in the book.

His struggle to comprehend the changing world around him and to pin down the advanced technology of modern humans with concepts he could understand made parts of this story completely baffling. He sees boats as logs and paddles as leaves and representations of things as the real things they represent. It's a testament to Golding's This might sound silly, but this small book of simple language confounded me. It's a testament to Golding's brilliance that he could stage a whole book this way.

This is definitely something I'm going to have to read a second time and maybe then I can give it a better rating. View all 3 comments. May 07, Josh rated it really liked it. Tough read especially early on.

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There were times when I thought quitting would save me from some stress, but I read a few reviews, got my bearings and remembered why I wanted to read this in the first place. Give this one room to breathe. Be careful to reread when you have the instinct to as well. I found I could have easily missed some critical plot Tough read especially early on. I found I could have easily missed some critical plot points had I failed to recognize that I had started to day-dream instead of read. Finally, take your time to admire how the story is told and the beauty of some of the language: Mar 19, Peter rated it really liked it Shelves: A last tribe of Neanderthals the People arrive in their Summer home — a rocky outcrop near the top of a large waterfall.

Peaceful hunter gatherers with an earth-mother religion, they do not understand tools, nor can they formulate complex thoughts, they speak simply and also they communicate telepathically through pictures.

'This was a different voice; not the voice of the people. It was the voice of other'.

One day they smell strangers nearby and gradually the become aware of a tribe of Homo Sapiens the new people who have come up the river in dug out canoes and are camping A last tribe of Neanderthals the People arrive in their Summer home — a rocky outcrop near the top of a large waterfall. One day they smell strangers nearby and gradually the become aware of a tribe of Homo Sapiens the new people who have come up the river in dug out canoes and are camping on a river island.

The new people steal the Neanderthal children and kill the tribe elders, only Lok and Fa, a man and woman, are left, and they set out to rescue the children. Despite being written in simple language this is quite a difficult book to read. This is because WIlliam Golding has chosen to tell the story in style that suggest a Neanderthal mindset. As he spies on the homo sapiens a lot of their behaviour is alien to him.

He also has a strange way of describing everything — from the geography of places to interactions between characters — there is sometimes no distinction in his observations between the real and unreal and this gives the story a dream like quality that is often hard to follow. Where as the homo sapiens are more badly behaved, drinking, killing, beating etc. Stylistically it is an interesting device to use the writing to suggest the Neanderthal mind, I think it works really well but throws up lots of issues.

At two points the narration jarred for me, when Lok used the words: The penultimate chapter employs an omniscient viewpoint, observing Lok. For the first time, the novel describes the people the reader has been inhabiting through the first-person perspective. Lok, totally alone, gives up in despair.

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In the final chapter, we move to the point of view of the new race, more or less modern humans fleeing in their boats, revealing that they are terribly afraid of the Neanderthals whom they believe to be devils of the forest and of pretty much everything around.

This last chapter, the only one written from the humans' point of view, reinforces the inheritance of the world by the new species. The fleeing humans carry with them an infant Neanderthal, of whom they are simultaneously afraid and enamoured, hinting at the later hypothesis of inter-breeding between Neanderthals and modern humans. The book, particularly the last chapter, was the inspiration for the song " A Trick of the Tail " by British rock band Genesis.

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The Inheritors: the intimate secrets in William Golding's Neanderthal tale

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