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‘It’s my house, isn’t it?’: memory, haunting and liminality in Stephen King’s 'Bag of Bones'

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Rich in its references to history and regionalism, Stephen King's Bag of Bones (1998) provides an in-depth study of how the personal and communal intertwine within the context of small-town Maine life. King uses the device of a haunted house, here in the form of a rural log cabin, to consider how the past lingers to inform and shape the present. This article argues that the house functions specifically as a liminal space; caught between past and present, the living and the dead, it provides a transitional area in which traumatic memories of racially motivated violence are relived and continually thrust back upon the community responsible. These ideas can be linked to gothic themes of past horror and the return of the repressed. My article thus considers how the classic gothic motif of haunting permits an exploration of the nature of memory and identity in the special kind of arena that liminality provides.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-195
Number of pages13
JournalEuropean Journal of American Culture
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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