Date of Award


Document Type

Union College Only

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Bunkong Tuon

Second Advisor

Judith Lewin




Horror, Short Story, Fiction, Creative, Scary, Contemporary, Stephen King


Since his tales of telekinetic teenagers, small-town vampires, and cursed hotels hit shelves in the 1970s and 80s, Stephen King has become a household name in both post-modern horror fiction and pop culture. King’s horror stems from social anxiety or fears that appeal on a cultural and communal level. His massive readership is a testament to his ability to bring the suppressed to light and is best represented in his short story collections such as Skeleton Crew and Everything’s Eventual. King’s short stories particularly attract me because they explore a range of ages, settings, lifestyles, and genders, yet converge on a central theme of social anxiety, from the widespread, Cold-War-era fears of Communism and nuclear attacks to death’s inevitability. I strive to achieve similar effects in my short story collection, however, while King’s horror is based on general social anxiety, my horror focuses on specific, individual fears. “Jedidiah’s Rites” highlights the fear of the unknown and the afterlife in the context of Catholicism. Fear of the unfamiliar is a central theme in “The Boogeyman.” Fear of primeval instinct and superstition takes center stage in “Big Bayou.” “Jasmine Burning” addresses fear of change, while “The Cairns” exemplifies fear of loneliness and insecurity. Misery may love company, but fear does not. In focusing on individual as opposed to societal fears, I am transposing what King does on a more individualistic and personal level.