I have just finished writing an essay on William Golding’s The Inheritors.
This was a really challenging topic to discuss. I choses a question regarding the fact that it may be “A Literature of Atrocity” and how Golding reflects on the trauma and genocide of World War II.
The novel opens with a group of Neanderthals moving from their winter location to a summer place. They are funny, joyous, innocent and just content to be living in their tribe. They are a pre-historic race, where Golding imagines what it may have been like.
They are happy, that is, until they encounter the Home sapiens, the first “human” race. They are afraid of the Neanderthals, who are actually of no threat to them. They are a peaceful race, but slightly ignorant in basic survival methods. Instead of helping the more vulnerable race, the Homo sapiens steal their children and completely annihilate them until the last remaining one, Lok, just gives up and dies.
It is a story that reflects the horrors of the Holocaust and World War II. Golding makes reference to the trauma suffered during the war by highlighting the death, destruction and subsequent trauma inflicted on the Neanderthals. The worst part is the Homo sapiens ( the first of our kind) survive and sail off with a kidnapped Neanderthal infant. There is thought that the Neanderthal blood may have survived in humans because of this. However, we lost our humanity when the Homo sapiens wiped them out.
There is an excellent excerpt from the beginning of the story interpreted by Vito Cannella.dv at the following link: