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A word of caution. I am going to be talking about trauma. I will be analyzing children’s books and explaining how these stories can help children deal with trauma and others’ reactions to it. This post may offend some readers and/or contain ideas about sensitive subjects. If you have had trauma, you may want to go read something else. If you start to feel uncomfortable, please get off and go read something else.

Trauma is something that can happen to anybody. There is no age limit. Trauma can happen with veterans in war; it can happen to people who have been in natural disasters such as floods, fires, and earthquakes. Trauma can also happen to children. There have been books written for children to help them understand their traumas. Books about childhood traumas, such as child abuse, or bullying, or being in a strange place (such as Wonderland) can be a source of comfort to children. They realize that they are not alone through the use of these books. Authors, by writing about childhood traumas, acknowledge that trauma can happen to children- however the way the trauma is presented can offer an alternative view of childhood traumas.

Alice drinks the “Drink me” potion which makes her small enough to fit through the door into Wonderland.

In Alice in Wonderland Alice “must undergo severe emotional and physical stress before reaching maturity.” (Suchan.) She deals with being in an unfamiliar place, and “her abrupt changes in size [which] so confuse her that she constantly complains that she doesn’t know who she is from one moment to the next.” (Suchan). Even though this is “Wonderland” she is constantly questioning her identity, and arguing with the creatures in Wonderland who don’t act the way she expects them to. It throws her into confusion, and even though this is a dream she has made of her own, it is no less traumatizing. Alice tells her sister of her dream, and “the rattle of the teacups as the March Hare…shared their never-ending meal, and the shrill voice of the Queen ordering off her…guests to execution…the pig baby…sneezing on the Duchess’s knee, while plates and dishes crashed around it…the distant sob of the miserable Mock Turtle.” (Carroll, 103-104). It is frightening to Alice, but to her sister, it is a “change to a dull reality” (Carroll, 104). She dismisses Alice’s dream as an active imagination, and she thinks that Alice has “a simple loving heart of her childhood and….would feel ….simple sorrows and find pleasure in simple joys, remembering her own child-life, and the happy summer days.” (Carroll, 104) Through the entire book, Alice has had to deal with her rapidly changing body, confusion and trying to fit into a new world, and stand up for herself in Wonderland. She has undergone a nightmare- a trauma, and her sister can do no more than think of it as something of nostalgia and wonderful. Alice’s journey is one of terror to the child; and her sister ignores it as a trauma, thinking of it only as a Wonderland. The title of the story, as a “Wonderland” is only for adults. These are very real fears and challenges that Alice goes through and overcomes in her nightmare- giving hope that others can overcome them too- at least until the last two pages of the story, where it is minimized. Carroll does address trauma through the focal point of Alice, but he makes a mistake by switching the narrative to her sister- Once he does that, it is no longer a nightmare- it’s a “Wonderland” and it’s silly.

This is one of the most popular pictures of Anne. She spends most of her time daydreaming,making up stories, and imagining things to cope with her trauma.

In Anne of Green Gables, Anne encounters trauma. However, the trauma is mentioned as taking place before the book. “After the deaths of her parents… Anne (whom, as she says, “nobody wanted . . . even then”) was taken in by two miserly women, the first with a “drunken husband,” and, at age eight, made to look after their young children, including “three sets of twins.” At age ten, transferred to the local orphanage, she suffers not only “in spirit,” but is deprived of basic nutrition: on meeting Matthew, she is “scrawny,” with a face “small, white and thin.” The shrewd Marilla is able to distinguish these details within the fuller picture of Anne’s history: ‘What a starved, unloved life she had had—a life of drudgery and poverty and neglect’ (Green Gables 38-40). These horrors are seemingly righted by the fact of Anne’s incorporation into Green Gables and the larger community of Avonlea; she will no longer be neglected or abandoned. However, the unconventional behavior Anne reveals is indicative of her struggle to overcome the ramifications of the severe trauma she has suffered, of a childhood that, even by Marilla’s strict standards, has been acutely damaging.” (Slater.) This has so affected Anne, that she uses her imagination to escape from her reality. She retreats into books, and she also has imaginary friends. “Out of trauma—that of her parents’ absence and her guardian’s violence—is born Katie Maurice, this other who looks like Anne but is decidedly not Anne… Anne… is not whole; it is Katie… who is the “whole [O]ther,” the image in which Anne may find refuge from the wounds of fragmentation, and postpone her inevitable confrontation with her alienated representation. Katie is… an unattainable image made even more impossible by nature of its utter unreality. While a healthier Anne might have…strived toward unification with the image “Anne,” the image “Katie” is always already made impossible, and it cannot be reconciled with due to Anne’s acknowledgment of it as Other. There is no danger here of Anne’s experiencing further pain from alienation. If her image is Katie, is Othered, she need not endure the anguish of irreconciliation. Katie Maurice, of course, is not the only extension of Anne’s body that Anne others. Upon leaving Mrs. Thomas’s for Mrs. Hammond’s, she creates “a little girl named Violetta” out of the echo of her voice in a nearby valley: “We were great friends and I loved her almost as well as I loved Katie Maurice . . . [Violetta] echoed back every word you said, even if you didn’t talk a bit loud” (Green Gables 53). Violetta, here associated with Katie by Anne herself, is clearly the aural equivalent of her mirror disassociation. Violetta, like Katie, is Anne—Anne purposefully misrecognized. That this Othering should extend beyond the visual to the aural demonstrates the severity of Anne’s dissociation.” (Slater). So, Anne creates her imaginary friends, not just out of needing someone when she is lonely to talk to, but she created them to escape. They aren’t just friends, they are parts of her that she wishes she could access, and only accesses at appropriate times. Marilla does not understand the need to escape-Anne can not talk about her experiences; so she needs an outlet which Marilla finds unsatisfactory. Marilla does not understand the trauma that Anne has gone through and the severity of it. Trauma is a big part of Anne of Green Gables, it is a big part of Anne, and she overcomes it through the stability of Green Gables. Stability is needed when dealing with trauma. Children learn through this book that imagination can help to lessen the pain of trauma, but it is not a substitute for a stable life. In order for something to be traumatic, there needs to be fear. “Fear is a liminal space, a sense of being neither here nor there, and about desiring that stability.” (Humphreys, lecture).  Children learn that things can get better; Anne’s life got better when with Matthew and Marilla- it was a long process and there were many difficulties, but through perseverance and determination she was able to emerge as “Anne of Green Gables”- she had an identity, not as a lost, traumatized child, but as a girl with a home and a strong sense of community. With stability, she lost her fear; and so, by the end of the book, she is able to identify herself, not as someone who is unwanted; but as someone who is (somewhat) cared about by people who really do mean well.

James- who had no agency with his aunts, is the one who ends up saving the peach from the sharks and his friends from drowning with the idea of getting birds to lift the peach. He is given a chance to express his ideas and take leadership.

In James and the Giant Peach James also undergoes trauma. Roald Dahl attempts to diffuse the trauma with the two aunts, Spiker and Sponge, by using humour to show their true nature as lazy, vain adults. While that does help, James does not see anything humorous because he does not have the ability to see through their threats. They are horrible to him, he fears them. However, “Gothic children’s literature is about replacing fear with understanding.” (Humphreys, lecture). James never understands the aunts; he does not have the access which the reader is given. He is beaten and overworked by the aunts, and so when he is given a package with magic, which is promised to make “marvelous things start happening… fabulous unbelievable things” and promises him that “you will never be miserable again” (Dahl, 14) James takes it. He loses them and they vanish into the ground, but he learns that he doesn’t need magic. In the peach, he is immediately welcomed by the creatures. He is frightened by them at first, but is reassured that “We wouldn’t dream of hurting you. You’re one of us now.” (Dahl, 35). He has been accepted unconditionally by creatures that he has just met. Even though he has been called names, and hated by his aunts; there are people who accept him for his individuality. “James and the Giant Peach transforms the horrible and the frightening into possibility and positivity.” (Humphreys, lecture). There is no reason to be afraid of the insects, they’re not going to treat him like his aunts do. So, the book transforms the insects (frightening) into beings which are helpful and beneficial to the community. James is, by the end of the book, a part of a community. The book helps to highlight that events can be scary, but they are not going to be scary forever. There is a shift from his identity as “you disgusting little beast!” (Dahl, 2) into “Your name is James.” (Dahl, 37). Through the change of his identity, children learn that it is the aunts that are scary (to James), and not the insects. How things appear to be at first, may not be like that in the end. Although the way that Aunt Spiker and Aunt Sponge treat James seems normal, this is not something that should be expected from every person or creature. Loneliness is not forever, trauma is not forever, and children can regain the identity that they’ve lost through trauma.

In Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone,  Harry Potter witnesses both of his parents being brutally murdered by Voldemort, (also known as “You-Know-Who”) as a baby, and is traumatized because of it. The way that all of the adults react is extremely inappropriate. McGonnagall asks Dumbledore, “How in the name of heaven did Harry survive?” (Rowling, 15) He survived not by his choice; he just survived by fate. There was no reason to be so enamoured at that. He was a child who survived a trauma, but he didn’t even realize he had. In the Wizard world, he’s treated as a star for undergoing his trauma, but in the real world he is treated like a nuisance by his aunt and uncle, for having undergone trauma. Without his trauma, his parents would not have died, and so he’s basically only living with his aunt and uncle because he had trauma. “Bad news…Mrs. Figg’s broken her leg. She can’t take him.” She jerked her head in Harry’s direction…The Dursleys often spoke about Harry like this, as though he wasn’t there-or rather, as though he was something very nasty…like a slug.” (Rowling, 21-22). He isn’t treated like a normal person. To be spoken about like a slug is demeaning, dehumanizing-as if there’s something perverse about him for having gone through what he has.  Even people who mean well are conflicted. The Weasleys, who end up becoming Harry’s friends, see him first as the “famous Harry Potter”, instead of a person. The twins are the first to bring this to the attention of their mother: “Hey, Mum, guess what? Guess who we just met on the train?’….’You know that black-haired boy who was near us in the station? Know who he is?’ ‘Harry Potter!’….’The poor boy isn’t something you goggle at the zoo. Is he really, Fred? How do you know?’ ‘Asked him. Saw his scar. It’s really there- like lightning.’ ‘Poor dear-no wonder he was alone. I wondered. He was ever so polite when he asked how to get onto the platform.’ ‘Never mind that, do you think he remembers what You-Know-Who looks like?’ Their mother suddenly became very stern. ‘I forbid you to ask him, Fred. No, don’t you dare. As though he needs reminding of that on his first day at school.’ ” (Rowling, 73) At first, she is horrified at Fred and George’s reaction to Harry, saying that he isn’t a “zoo animal”, but then she asks how they know, as if she’s trying to get information. She then seems to change her mind, and tells them to forget it happened. She is hypocritical- wanting to know about Harry as a “celebrity” but still feeling sympathy for him. There is no ‘in between’. He isn’t treated like a normal person. This book may help children who have undergone trauma, to understand that sometimes, trauma can affect views that people have of them. It isn’t their fault. It just happens, and there’s nothing that can be done about it. “Harry Potter rolled over inside his blankets without waking up….He slept on, not knowing he was special, not knowing he was famous, not knowing he would be woken in a few hours’ time by Mrs. Dursley’s scream…nor that he would spend the next few weeks being prodded and pinched by his cousin Dudley…he couldn’t know that at this very moment, people meeting in secret all over the country were holding up their glasses and saying in hushed voices: ‘To Harry Potter-the boy who lived!'” (Rowling, 18). He has no control over how people treat him, whether they are in awe of him, or mean to him, he is helpless. The use of his scar which he received during his trauma can either make him a celebrity, like in the wizarding world and make him easily identifiable, or make him an outcast. I believe that the scar is a metaphor for trauma. “Under a tuft of jet-black hair over his forehead they could see a curiously-shaped cut, like a bolt of lightning. ‘Is that where-?’ whispered Professor McGonagall. ‘Yes’ said Dumbledore, ‘He’ll have that scar forever.’ ‘Couldn’t you do something about it, Dumbledore?’ ‘Even if I could, I wouldn’t. Scars can come in useful.’ ” (Rowling, 16-17)  At first, the scar is not visible, seeing as it is hidden beneath Harry’s hair; however, it is still there, and the adults worry about it. McGonnagall wants Dumbledore to remove it (perhaps take away Harry’s trauma,) but Dumbledore says that it can be useful. Trauma can offer a new way of thinking about things, it can serve as a reminder of things that have been faced before; it is part of a person’s life once they have experienced trauma. They have dealt with trauma, and they need to recognize it, rather than pretend it never happened. “The only thing Harry liked about his… appearance was a very thin scar on his forehead which was shaped like a bolt of lightning. He had had it for as long as he could remember and the first question he could ever remember asking his Aunt Petunia was how he had got it. ‘In the car crash when your parents died,’ she had said. ‘And don’t ask questions.’ Don’t ask questions-that was the first rule for a quiet life with the Dursleys.” (Rowling, 20). Harry unconsciously also recognizes the need for the scar, but his Aunt would rather forget that it happened. “Once, Aunt Petunia… had taken a pair of kitchen scissors and cut his hair so short he was almost bald except for his fringe which she left ‘to hide that horrible scar.’ ” (Rowling, 23) Her reaction to the trauma is as if it were something that he could have gotten over. It’s irritating to her; it’s a deformity. He is dependent on the Dursleys for information about his past, he has a desire to understand what happened but he is denied that right. “He’d lived with the Dursleys…as long as he could remember, ever since his parents had died in that car crash. He couldn’t remember being in the car when his parents had died. Sometimes, when he strained his memory during long hours in his cupboard, he came up with a strange vision: a blinding flash of green light and a burning pain on his forehead. This, he supposed, was the crash, though he couldn’t imagine where all the green light came from. He couldn’t remember his parents at all. His aunt and uncle never spoke about them, and of course, he was forbidden to ask questions. There were no photographs of them in the house. When he had been younger, Harry had dreamed and dreamed of some unknown relative coming to take him away, but it had never happened; the Dursleys were his only family. Yet, sometimes he thought (or maybe hoped) that strangers in the street seemed to know him.” (Rowling, 27) Harry is dealing with memories of his trauma, but he doesn’t have the agency needed to explore them, and so, they remain repressed.

The Dursleys’ try to keep him from learning of his identity as a wizard, and ultimately reject the notion that he has had trauma, but Hagrid helps to give agency to Harry by contradicting the Dursley’s wishes, and treating him as someone who should learn the truth. “Uncle Vernon came skidding into the room. He was holding a rifle in his hands…. ‘Ah, shut up Dursley, yeh great prune,” said the giant; he reached over the back of the sofa, jerked the gun out of Uncle Vernon’s hands, bent it into a knot as easily as if it had been made of rubber, and threw it into a corner of the room.” (Rowling, 40). Hagrid takes the gun- a symbol of control, and literally bends it, making it inoperable. The statement here is that children shouldn’t be kept in the dark. They know when something has happened, and it’s best to tell them about it to help them heal.

Hagrid tells Harry about what has happened to his family. He does hesitate at first, but he is angry with the Dursleys for misleading Harry as well.”How could a car crash kill Lily and James Potter? It’s an outrage! A scandal! Harry Potter not knowin’ his own story when every kid in our world knows his name!… I had no idea how much yeh didn’t know…. I don’t know if I’m the right person to tell yeh-but someone’s gotta…It’s best yeh know as much as I can tell yeh” (Rowling, 44) He understands the importance of understanding, of allowing a child to know what happens when they witness a trauma- even if the others around Harry would rather pretend that he hasn’t. This clip shows that kids do know when something bad has happened, and they are aware of when something is wrong, so in order to lessen fears, it’s best to be honest with them and not minimize the experiences they have gone through. “Something very painful was going on in Harry’s mind. As Hagrid’s story came to a close, he saw again the blinding flash of green light, more clearly than he had ever remembered it before- and he remembered something else, for the first time in his life- a high, cold, cruel laugh.” (Rowling, 46). Through Hagrid’s story, Harry is able to remember more- it hurts him, but he understands  why it is happening, and so his fears are not minimized by adults, but lessened by his newfound knowledge. Knowledge of trauma is a good thing, it isn’t good to repress memories or try to shield children from them. “Kids see consistently that horrible things happen, and can happen to them” (Humphreys, lecture). To deny that makes a child feel isolated, and as if there’s something wrong with them when in fact, it’s normal. It’s normal for a child to react that way; it’s normal to recover traumatic memories, and just because an adult says it didn’t happen doesn’t mean that the adult is right. “‘Everyone thinks I’m special…I’m famous and I can’t even remember what I’m famous for. I don’t know what happened…the night my parents died.’ Hagrid leant across the table. Behind the wild beard and eyebrows he wore a very kind smile. ‘Don’ you worry, Harry. You’ll learn fast enough. Everyone starts at the beginning…you’ll be just fine. Just be yourself. I know it’s hard. Yeh’ve been singled out, an’ that’s always hard. But yeh’ll have a great time at Hogwarts.'” (Rowling, 66) Hagrid is very reassuring to Harry. His trauma doesn’t make him who he is. It is part of his identity, but it isn’t what defines him as “Harry.”

Harry is an instant celebrity because of his trauma. When he meets Ron on the train, the first thing Ron talks about is Harry’s scar. Ron is more interested in his celebrity status than in who he is as a person.”‘Are you really Harry Potter?’ Ron blurted out. Harry nodded. ‘Oh-well, I thought it might be one of Fred and George’s jokes,’ said Ron. ‘And have you really got-you know…’ He pointed at Harry’s forehead. Harry pulled back his fringe to show the lightning scar. Ron stared. ‘So that’s where You-Know-Who-?’ ‘Yes,’ said Harry, ‘but I can’t remember it.’ ‘Nothing?’ said Ron eagerly. ‘…I remember a lot of green light, but nothing else.'” (Rowling, 74). Harry realizes for the first time that his nightmares and his “green flash” are connected to his trauma, and so he is able to now offer an explanation for something which he hadn’t been able to before. HE is able to make the distinction of his nightmares being connected to his trauma. Ron is very guarded when talking about Harry’s trauma- he has been raised to fear Voldemort- however Harry has no fear, he just sees it as a name. He is ignorant about the complete details of his trauma, and he can’t really connect his fear with the people yet. “‘Until Hagrid told me, I didn’t know anything about being a wizard, or about my parents or Voldemort-‘ Ron gasped. ‘What?’ said Harry. ‘You said You-Know-Who’s name!’ said Ron, sounding both shocked and impressed, ‘I’d thought you, of all people-‘ ‘I’m not trying to be brave or anything, saying the name,’ said Harry, ‘I just never knew you shouldn’t. See what I mean? I’ve got loads to learn.’ ” (Rowling, 75) Ron believes that Harry should be frightened of ‘You know Who’ but by giving a name to the person, the fear is lessened. “Harry…was starting to get a prickle of fear every time You-Know-Who was mentioned. He supposed this was all part of entering the magical world but, it had been a lot more comfortable saying ‘Voldemort’ without worrying.” (Rowling, 80). Harry realizes this, and realizes that everybody is scared of “You Know Who”. It is easier for him to be scared once he realizes that he has a right to be scared of Voldemort, and that it’s okay to be scared of Voldemort.

To see the video click here.

I think that Quidditch is a metaphor for trauma. Harry has to be taught about his trauma, just like he needs to be taught about the game of Quidditch, how it is played, what his role is, and what he can do to win. “‘This… is the Golden Snitch and it’s the most important ball of the lot. It’s very hard to catch because it’s so fast and difficult to see. It’s the Seeker’s job to catch it. You’ve got to weave in and out of the Chasers, Beaters, Bludgers and Quaffle to get it before the other team’s Seeker, because whichever Seeker catches the Snitch…nearly always win[s]’… Harry understood what he had to do…it was doing it that was going to be the problem… a few minutes later, [Wood] and Harry were up in the air, Wood throwing golf balls as hard as he could in every direction for Harry to catch. Harry didn’t miss a single one.” (Rowling, 125-126) Harry needs to pay close attention to his trauma, he needs to try to figure it out. Others can try to support him, or “keep him from falling off”, but he is the one who has the responsibility to deal with it. He is the one who has gone through the trauma, nobody else can do his job for him- but they can support him. Ultimately though, he is the one who can “win the game”.

In Harry’s very first Quidditch game shortly after he learns the rules of the game, he is very eager to prove himself and a bit nervous. He is unsure of what to expect, but he knows that he would be the most likely to be injured, and he almost is. “Harry’s broom span off course, Harry holding on for dear life…In all the confusion…the Golden Snitch had disappeared from sight again.” (Rowling, 138) Overcoming trauma can be very difficult, and a frightening experience for children. Often, dealing with trauma does feel like how Harry feels on his broom during the time when his broom is jinxed: “His broom gave a sudden, frightening lurch. For a split second, he thought he was going to fall. He gripped the broom tightly… He’d never felt anything like that. It happened again. It was as though the broom was trying to buck him off…Harry tried to turn back…he had half a mind to ask Wood to call time out- and then he realized that his broom was completely out of his control. He couldn’t turn it. He couldn’t direct it at all. It was zig-zagging through the air and every now and then making violent swishing movements which almost unseated him…No one seemed to have noticed that Harry’s broom was behaving strangely. It was carrying him slowly higher, away from the game, jerking and twitching as it went. ‘Dunno what Harry thinks he’s doing,’ Hagrid mumbled…’If I didn’t know any better, I’d say he’d lost control of his broom…but he can’t have.’…His broom had started to roll over and over, with him only just managing to hold on…Harry’s broom had given a wild jerk and Harry swung off it. He was now dangling from it, holding on with only one hand.” (Rowling, 139). He cannot control his broom, Hagrid is suspicious of this though, as he thinks that Harry is a good flyer. I believe this is a metaphor for the way in which adults think that children should be able to “bounce back” after seeing something horrific happen. However, Harry still manages to hold on to the broom, and does something that is “near impossible”. He manages to catch the Snitch even when his broom is out of control. “Up in the air, Harry was suddenly able to clamber back on to his broom….He hit the pitch…coughed, and something gold fell into his hand. ‘I’ve got the Snitch!’ he shouted, waving it above his head, and the game ended.” (Rowling, 140-141). He wins the game, and the fear of falling changes to happiness at winning the game- much like the fear of trauma turning into one of acceptance. Children realize that it may be hard, but that they should not give up if because something bad happens.”They were all so impressed with the way Harry had managed to stay on his bucking broomstick.” (Rowling, 143). Harry becomes a hero, and he is respected. His falling off the broom caused worry, but seeing how he was able to handle it made the rest of the school admire him because of the way he stayed on it. More important than almost falling off the broom was being able to stay on: It is important to recognize trauma, but equally, or maybe even more important is to be able to handle trauma. Children aren’t able to do that however, unless adults can determine that trauma has happened, or they are willing to recognize it and be supportive.

“Harry had taken one step…when a slithering sound made him freeze where he stood. A bush on the edge of the clearing quivered… Then, out of the shadows, a hooded figure came crawling across the ground like some stalking beast. Harry…stood transfixed. The cloaked figure reached the unicorn, it lowered its head over the wound in the animal’s side, and began to drink it’s blood…The hooded figure raised its head and looked right at Harry-unicorn blood was dribbling down its front. It got to its feet and came towards him-he couldn’t move for fear. Then a pain pierced his head like he’d never felt before, it was as though his scar was on fire-half blinded, he staggered backwards…The pain in Harry’s head was so bad he fell to his knees. It took a minute or two to pass. When he looked up, the figure had gone.” (Rowling, 187). Harry is frozen with fear. He is terrified of this creature; when he learns why, he is able to understand why he was afraid and unable to do anything. The continual message is that it is not something that can be controlled. To realize that trauma is just something that happens is the main objective for people who have gone through trauma: It is real, and scary, the world does not always fit into a perfect box, and for kids to see that is very nerve wracking, so stories such as this one is comforting. If Harry Potter, who is a wizard can eventually defeat his parents murderer, then why shouldn’t the trauma that the readers have be able to be overcome too? It would take time, but this book gives hope to those who have lost it.

Harry still goes to fight Voldemort, even when it seems as if he has lost the battle.

Despite having experienced trauma, Harry doesn’t let fear get in the way of what he has to do. He is very protective of his friends and his school, because it is where he is cared for, and he says to Ron and Hermione; “If Snape gets hold of the Stone Voldemort’s coming back!… There won’t be any Hogwarts…He’ll flatten it, or turn it into a school for the Dark Arts!…If I get caught before I can get to the Stone, well, I’ll have to go back to the Dursleys and wait for Voldemort to find me there. It’s only dying a bit later than I would have done, because I’m never going to the Dark Side! I’m going through that trapdoor tonight and nothing you two say is going to stop me! Voldemort killed my parents remember?” (Rowling, 196-197). He forgets about his own fears for the good of the wizarding world’s safety. This sends a positive message that trauma can be overcome- even though there is fear, he  “was lucky once,” (Rowling 208) and he “might get lucky again.'” (Rowling, 208). Trauma shouldn’t stop a child from living. It shouldn’t stop them from doing what they want to, because it can be healed. Harry is able to fight Voldemort, and defeat him, find the Philosopher’s Stone, and save the school from Voldemort despite Harry’s previous fear of him in the Forest.

Through these books, children can realize that they are capable of being hurt, of witnessing or experiencing trauma. They realize that it is normal and that it doesn’t always have to be upsetting. They can have a voice, and regain the identity they have lost through their trauma. Trauma should never be kids stuff, but it does happen, and having authors recognize that in children’s books can help to break down the barrier of childhood/adulthood. However, the way that others around a traumatized child reacts- often unsure of what to do, can make the child and the adult feel uncomfortable, and create a distance when there doesn’t have to be one.


Works Cited

IMAGES (In order of appearance, everything else is in alphabetical order.)

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  2. http://www.nachtkabarett.com/ihvh/img/tenniel_color_alice_drink_me.jpg
  3. http://xanthelinnea.files.wordpress.com/2009/02/annewithflowers.jpg
  4. https://someonetoday.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/james-and-the-giant-peach.jpg
  5. http://tripenglish.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/golden-snitch-harry-potter-quidditch-seeker-favim.jpeg
  6. https://someonetoday.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/31.jpg


  1. Carroll, Lewis Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass. New York: Bantam Dell, 2006
  2. Dahl, Roald. James and the Giant Peach. New York: Puffin, 2007.
  3. Montgomery, L. M. Anne of Green Gables. [Toronto]: Seal, 1996.
  4. Rowling, J. K. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. London: Bloomsbury Pub., 1997.


  1. Slater, Katherine. “”The Other Was Whole”: Anne of Green Gables, Trauma and Mirroring.”The Lion and the Unicorn 34.2 (2010): 167-187. Project MUSE. Web. 25 Jul. 2012.
  2. Suchan, James. “Alice’s Journey from Alien to Artist.” Children’s Literature7.1 (1978): 78-92. Project MUSE. Web. 25 Jul. 2012.


  1. “Dissociation (psychology).” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 16 Oct. 2012. Web. 25 July 2012. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dissociation_(psychology)&gt;


  1. Hagrid’s Tale-Death of Potters [Original Clip.] Prod. Curseco, Youtube December 27, 2008 Web. July 25 2012 <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pp4oAZHgySw&amp;feature=related&gt;
  2. Harry Meets Ron and Hermione-Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Prod. HarryPotterMovieClip Youtube. September 21, 2012. Web. March 2, 2013.
  3. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone the Forbidden Forest Prod. WorkshopOneUK Youtube May 13 2012 Web. July 25 2012 <www.youtube.com/watch?v=9N-_KmZmV20>
  4. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (1/5) MOVIE CLIP -Harry’s Birthday (2001) HD Prod. movieclips Youtube May 26, 2011 Web. July 25 2012 < www.youtube.com/watch?v=50N2eB0JI80>
  5. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (4/5) Movie CLIP-Catching the Snitch (2001)-HD Prod. movieclips Youtube May 26 2011 Web. July 25 2012 <www.youtube.com/watch?v=F3YR1-gJjWM>
  6. Oliver Wood explaining Quidditch. Prod. grimgenesis Youtube May 10 2011 Web. July 25 2012. <www.youtube.com/watch?v=3vZL4eHdhRM&amp;feature=related>


  1. Humphreys, Sara. Class Lecture. Children’s Literature. Trent University. Oshawa, Ontario. July, 23 2012. “James and the Giant Peach-Rewriting abjection.”