Childhood Trauma Creates a Hard Future

Children should not be put in stressful situations. In Lord of the Flies, young boys are stranded on an island after their plane crashes leaving them to fend for themselves. The crash puts the boys in a stressful situation as they try to learn to live on their own. Two boys, Jack and Ralph, try to take leadership roles, but this ultimately ends with conflict and a violent Jack. A child’s brain will not develop properly when challenged with chronic or extreme stress.

In Lord of the Flies by William, Golding Jack is affected negatively with extreme stress and trauma while on the island causing him to be unfit for normal life in the future.

Nurturing and responsibly caring for a child is key in their brain development. Kids grow best in a safe and protected place (Child Development). When they are shown neglect and are dealing with stress this causes them mental strain. Children may act out in violence when they have stress or trauma going on as a reaction for excessive adrenaline.

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When all of this adds up it can cause PTSD which may affect them in the future.

PTSD or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder has many long-term effects (Childhood Trauma and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder). Some of these effects may be having flashbacks or nightmares, extreme alertness, and decreased self-esteem. If these symptoms last longer than three months it is moved to a chronic diagnosis. Treatment may help, but it is hard to cure. Having childhood trauma may cause horrible effects in their lives ahead.

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For children, traumatic events are considered anything that was sudden and unexpected, it was something malicious, the child was not prepared, and if it happened repeatedly (Morin). All of this may cause things like fear, depression anxiety, anger and aggression, and much more. This also causes a detachment of relationship for them and their caregiver because they then have a lack of trust.

When young children experience violence the effects will last a lifetime (Childhood Exposure to Violence). Some effects that may take place is substance abuse, problems behaviorally, acting out criminally as an adult, acting like a delinquent, and failure academically. When the violence children have experienced is recreated this creates a cycle, where the violence, as well as its effects, happen over and over again in a cycle. This creates a dangerous risk to future generations. After a violent experience, it can be very hard for them to get back on their feet and restore normalcy.

Children who suddenly lose a parent creates an intense fear and depression. They often feel as though they had lost all sense of themselves and are terrified and feel disorganized in the world (When a Child Loses a Parent). They often blame themselves for the loss of their parents which causes a constant mental ache. Losing such an important person so early in life can also make it difficult when trying to form relationships and trust others, this is because they are constantly longing for their parent and find love to be dangerous.

Being bullied is one of today’s biggest problems in the world. It can cause anxiety depression and changes in the brain (Thorpe). The changes in the brain are thinner temporal and prefrontal cortexes. This causes impulsive, dangerous behavior. The bully themselves often have trouble with long-term relationships and are at risk for antisocial personality disorder. Being the bully may cause substance abuse as well as psychological problems.

In the book Lord of the Flies, the boys were stranded on an island after a plane crash left to figure out how to live while they would be there. During this time there was conflict and violence that would leave a large mark on these young boys lives. Some of these include the fight for leadership, bullying and tormenting some of the boys, and even murder. Due to all of this, the boy’s lives will be forever changed.

Ralph and Jack, two of the older boys, compete to be the chief leader of the island. ‘All right. Who wants Jack for chief?’ With dreary obedience, the choir raised their hands ‘Who wants me? Every hand outside the choir except Piggy’s was raised immediately. Then Piggy, too, raised his hand grudgingly in the air. Ralph counted. I’m chief then.'(Golding 23). This quote shows the first intuition that Jack would not make a good leader. Not having control causes him to spiral out of control and use violence to force the other boys to take his side.

Jack is spotted many times verbally abusing boys, most specifically Piggy. ‘Better Piggy than Fatty’ (Golding 25). Performing this action hurts Piggy’s self-esteem and grows Jack’s violent nature. Due to this, it will make it hard to create relationships for Jack since he is used to treating others with cruelty.

While first exploring the island Jack, Simon, and Ralph see a pig, but they do not catch it. Jack becomes angry about this and we can see a bit of his violence through his actions. ‘He snatched his knife out of the sheath and slammed it into a tree trunk. Next time there would be no mercy. He looked around fiercely daring them to contradict.’ (Golding 31). The way he slams the knife in the and looks at the boys gives insight into how violent and cruel you will see him become throughout the story.

Jack had decided that the boys needed meat to eat. During this time there had been a signal fire going on, Jack and his tribe were in charge of keeping the fire going, rather than doing their job they completely disregarded what they were in charge of making the selfish decision to get meat. We see how they are focused completely on themselves and they show off their violent fashion when they say ‘Kill the pig, cut her throat, bash her in’ (Golding 75). Having this urge to viciously kill will cause trauma in the future for the boys.

Jack gains control over a group, the boys get scared during a storm and are going wild. Jack screams at the boys telling them to gather around dance and reenact the killing of the pig. He shouts out and says to them ‘Do our dance! Come on! Dance!’ (Golding 151). Through this, we can see that Jack rules through violence and has issues that are hard to tame.

During the dance, they reenact the killing of the pig, but this time with a human child, Simon comes out of the woods and is chosen to be the pig. While doing this the boys believe he is a beast and shout out ‘Kill the beast! Cut his throat! Bash him in!’ (Golding 152). Due to this Simon is murdered. Since the boys kill and murder these violent ways will be hard to wash away and will be a mental hardship dealt with throughout life.

Throughout the story, Jack has been seen as a bully, a dictator, and a murderer. He uses violence to get what he wants, but when he returns to the home he will have a hard time living a normal life. He will likely deal with many symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and he will have difficulty forming relationships with others because of all of this mental damage. The other boys who survived on the island will also deal with hardships throughout their lives because of this childhood trauma. In conclusion, Jack will have a troubled future because of his violent ways in his childhood

Works Cited

  • ‘Child Development.’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 23 May 2018,
  • ‘Childhood Exposure to Violence.’,
  • ‘Childhood Trauma and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)’ Shaw Mind Foundation
  • Morin, Amy, et al. ‘The Effects of Childhood Trauma.’ Verywell Mind,
  • Thorpe, JR. ‘5 Ways Childhood Bullying Affects You As An Adult.’ Bustle, Bustle, 25 Apr. 2018,
  • ‘When a Child Loses a Parent.’ Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers,

Cite this page

Childhood Trauma Creates a Hard Future. (2021, Oct 15). Retrieved from

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