Dissertation Title:

Seeing Through Sara: A Hermeneutic Exploration of Stephen King’s Bag of Bones


Myka Kelly Hanson

Date, Time & Place:

July 2, 2022 at 1:30 pm
South Hall Classroom at the Lambert Campus


Horror fiction and depth psychology seem to run parallel to one another among scholars and readers, rarely intersecting. Yet horror fiction regularly deals with elements of depth psychology, including the soul, archetype, and the shadow. Depth psychology finds rich territory within the fictional world of horror in extrapolation of the shadow, pathologies, and nightmares. An examination of two texts, horror writer Stephen King’s Bag of Bones and depth psychologist James Hillman’s Re-Visioning Psychology, reveals truths about the soul and soul-making that provide unique insights based on the union of the two texts. This dissertation shows how Hillman’s moves of soul-making apply to fictional characters from Bag of Bones and examines the lessons readers can take from experiencing the soul-making process from a safe distance. The ultimate conclusion is that the nexus of horror fiction and depth psychology reveals truths about ensouling ourselves and, ultimately, ensouling the world.






  • Program/Track/Year: Depth Psychology Emphasis in Somatic Studies, S, 2016
  • Chair: Dr. Elizabeth Nelson
  • Reader: Dr. Jonathan Erickson
  • External Reader: Dr. Vorris Nunley
  • Keywords: Soul-making, James Hillman, Stephen King, Horror, Fiction, Shadow, Archetype