|Abstract||The purpose of this dissertation is to explore William Golding's view of human nature as presented in six of his novels--Lord of the Flies, The Inheritors, Pincher Martin, Free Fall, The Spire, and The Pyramid. In particular, this work attempts to describe Golding's concepts of man's relationship to Transcendence and how that relationship affects his interpersonal and social structures. Each chapter analyzes the presentation of these concepts in a particular novel, and the finding of these analyses is that these works present a consistent ideological view of this relationship and its effects. The basic theme that these six novels convey is that man's emergence as an individual, rational consciousness coincides with his rejection of the Whole from which he emerged, and that this rejection results in a fear of the Other that colors his entire experience. Seeking to deny its limitations in mortality, the self struggles against everything and everyone that threatens- its wish for immortality and omnipotence. But since the Other is a part of self, the individual's struggles are necessarily futile and interminable. Though man is seeking transcendence of his limitations in his efforts to dominate his surroundings, these efforts actually make transcendence impossible, for, according to Golding, transcendence can be achieved only through acceptance of the God within. Through acceptance, one "dies into heaven" by yielding the fears and claims of self-hood. Few of Golding's characters achieve this state; most are torn between their yearning for the beauty and peace of Transcendence and their fear of losing self. Yet, though Golding presents this conflict as the basis of the painful human condition, he also suggests that the insistence of self on domination is essential to human survival -and even that the "fall" of man from the harmony of the Whole into self-consciousness is possibly a "fortunate fall." It seems that only through self-awareness is man capable of freely choosing between good and evil, and only through losing his freedom in a wrong choice does he acquire "the new mode of knowing." Thus Golding's novels present a rich but consistent view of man. The birth of self is a "fall" into fear and the beginning of the struggle for survival, but, though it poses the danger of spiritual death, this "fall" also makes possible an even greater spiritual maturity.