Emily Paccia

Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Karla Alwes


Following World War II and the horrible devastation in Europe, especially in London, Britain began to rebuild. The country was attempting to come back from war, and the culture reflected a bleak, disheartening feeling. Literature written during this time period, which so often reflects the culture directly, showed that very same bleakness. British novelist, and one who lived through that time, William Golding, writing in the 1960's, recreated the dystopia brought into European countries from living through the destruction of the war. Creating a vision of the future -- one of dysfunction and chaos -- Golding’s characters from Lord of the Flies, having gone through the trauma of lost normalcy, lost companions, and eventually lost society, plunge into this same dystopian view of the future reflected in European society after World War II. Through the lens of trauma theory, Lord of the Flies shows the breakdown of not only the society created by the characters, but the loss of each character’s normal psyche because of this breakdown. In order to truly engage with trauma theory, specifically for Lord of the Flies, one must first be introduced to the genre within which this novel is so easily placed -- dystopia. Dystopia genre is one in which the world created is the worst-case scenario. A dystopian world is one of complete destruction and usually totalitarian control. William Golding created such a world in Lord of the Flies. The boys -- and through his service in World War II inadvertently Golding -- are thrown into a chaotic, dystopic space because they were attempting to escape another chaotic, space: that of World War II in England. Golding was pushed into this space after he served in the war for England, the result of which affected his writing greatly and is shown in the trauma the boys go through in Lord of the Flies.