The Lord of the Flies is a 1954 novel written by Nobel-prize winning author William Golding. The novel details the ordeal of a group of British boys who become stranded on a tropical island and are forced to fend for themselves without any adult supervision or guidance. The novel is cited by James Dashner in numerous interviews as an inspiration for The Maze Runner.
Golding's book deals with the darker aspects of human nature. As the boys are left to take care of themselves, their civilized selves are stripped away and they devolve into a more dangerous and violent primal state. The major thematic elements of the novel deal with civilization vs savagery, the individual vs the larger group, and peace vs the accumulation of power.
Golding explores these themes largely using two characters who become poised against one another. Ralph is the elected leader who governs through fairness and a sense of justice. He is concerned with the welfare of all the boys. He is the clearest inspiration for Thomas's character. The opposing character is Jack. Jack represents the darkest aspects of human nature. He is unfettered by societal norms but instead acts purely on base instincts. He comes to represent an irrational, unintellectual side of the human mind. A power struggle erupts between he and Ralph, who attempts to maintain a democratic order against Jack's wild freedom.
As in The Maze Runner, there exists a recurring motif of order vs chaos and civilization vs savagery. Golding demonstrates that human beings are capable of either side good or evil impulses. Dashner demonstrates similar dimensions in his characters. The Gladers strive for order, for example, but resort to extreme measures in exacting their brand of justice such as when they banish Ben. Similarly, the Creators are capable of tremendous evil by designing a system to test children in life or death situations, though they believe they are doing it for good reason.
A strong similarity also exists between the character of Chuck and the character of Piggy in The Lord of the Flies. Both characters die senselessly while representing innocence. Chuck specifically is more of a sacrificial lamb, whose death is designed to push the protagonist, Thomas, to fulfill his own potential. Piggy, like Chuck, is looked down upon by the other boys on the island and picked on for his overweight body and thick glasses. Piggy also represents other aspects of human nature, such as science and discovery. He is also the most intelligent of the boys, unlike Chuck.
It is important to consider that Golding had written the novel to take place in the midst of a nuclear war of some kind. Golding lived in a time where the memory of World War II was not far gone and the frightening realities of the atomic age were on the minds of the populace. The novel's reflection of the good and evil inherent in all individuals echoes the concerns of this new age, and the power it had brought with it.