Matty’s Burn Trauma in William Golding’s Darkness Visible

Joyanta Dangar

Assistant Professor of English, M.U.C. Women’s College, West Bengal. Email:

Volume 9, Number 2, 2017 I Full Text PDF

DOI: 10.21659/rupkatha.v9n2.05

Received May 15, 2017; Revised July 15, 2017; Accepted July 17, 2017; Published August 08, 2017


William Golding’s novel, Darkness Visible (1979), centers on Matty, an orphan, who was terribly burned in a bomb explosion during the London Blitz. For the horrible scars on his face caused by the burn accident, he became the object of mockery and stigmatising behaviour in his school, in social gatherings, and in his workplaces. Besides experiencing the common symptoms of burn trauma such as PTSD, sadness, diminished self-concern, search for meaning, social withdrawal, spiritual confusion, etc., Matty had been maintaining a dream journal that recorded his encounters with a blue spirit and a red one for long three years in his later life. It may be seen as the very key issue in his long-term, post-burn psychological adjustment. The article is thus intended to investigate Darkness Visible as a trauma text in terms of the findings of the trauma psychologists and researchers like Markus A. Landolt et al., Frederick J. Stoddard et al., Nichola Rumsey and Diana Harcourt, and Judith Herman.

Key Words: the London Blitz, burn injury, social stigmatization, social withdrawal, hallucinations, “survivor mission”

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