Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name




Committee Chair

Chandler, Karen M.

Author's Keywords

George MacDonald; Divine; The Golden Key; Alchemy; Numinous; Imagination


Presence of God in literature; MacDonald, George, 1824-1905. Golden key


This thesis explores the relationship of “The Golden Key” to the numinous in the development of what George MacDonald calls the “childlike child” or individual who finds meaning in stories that illuminates his or her relationship to God. The numinous reveals the presence of the divine, is made manifest in symbols found in the natural world, and evokes specific feelings of awe or dread. Such elements awaken our imagination to perceive God. The numinous acts as a catalyst for change by prompting characters and readers to respond to the presence of the divine. Various objects including the golden key, rainbow, shadows, and arguably stories are infused with numinous qualities to awaken the childlike imagination of the minds of his readers. The elements of myth and the numinous serve as two ingredients of the alchemical elixir that provides the opportunity for both protagonist and reader to experience transformation and purification.