29. The Ghost of the Counterfeit Child

  1. Charles L. Crow
  1. Steven Bruhm

Published Online: 13 SEP 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781118608395.ch29

A Companion to American Gothic

A Companion to American Gothic

How to Cite

Bruhm, S. (2013) The Ghost of the Counterfeit Child, in A Companion to American Gothic (ed C. L. Crow), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781118608395.ch29

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 13 SEP 2013
  2. Published Print: 25 NOV 2013

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780470671870

Online ISBN: 9781118608395

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Keywords:

  • infant damnation;
  • the counterfeit child;
  • Stephen King's Pet Sematary;
  • Puritanism in America;
  • resurrection narratives;
  • Serge Leclaire;
  • psychoanalysis

Summary

“The Ghost of the Counterfeit Child” situates Stephen King's 1983 novel, Pet Sematary, in the context of Puritanism's confusions regarding the question of infant damnation. It argues that the resurrected evil child figures not just the viperous infant of Puritan thought but also the fantasy of the child that we must kill over and over again. This child is counterfeit in that it exists as a theological and psychological fantasy, and it is a ghost in that it is impossible to kill, even though we must continually try.