Myth In Neil Gaiman's American Gods

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Neil Gaiman’s, American Gods, main purpose is to show that mythology is not a belief system that is related to unsophisticated cultures. In this novel the same questions, wants and beliefs that gave life to Odin, and all the other gods, are still found in society which causes people to worship material things the same way the older gods were worshipped. Just as people gave life to gods that control the forces of nature, modern people in the novel gave this power of worship to technology, which is personified in the form of Technical Boy and Media. By doing this, Gaiman shows the mythical side in American culture. Ultimately, Shadows road trip becomes a journey that explores the super natural. While the reader experiences this journey along…show more content…
Gaiman shows the reader that stories do more than just help people come to terms with the fact that there are forces out there that has power over them. Certainly, Gaiman tries to show the reader that myths and beliefs are the two tools that give people the power over their own destiny and life by making them act on their own when put in life or death situations. For example, in chapter one when the reader begins to see the occurrence of the Buffalo man in Shadows dream, he states, “Believe … if you are to survive you must believe…everything” (Gaiman 17). This character gives advice to Shadow about how to deal with the gods, these new beliefs, and the myths that he has been introduced to ever since he met Mr. Wednesday. The Buffalo Man makes it a point to tell Shadow that to belief is to survive. This example points to the importance of belief in human lives. Gaiman is arguing that humans must belief in something to give purpose and meaning to the world that they live in. Furthermore, the Buffalo Man who is depicted as one of the smartest characters in the novel, is almost like a representation of the American land. Since he asks Shadow to believe in everything, it could be a reference to the large scale of the American land and how it is able to conform and take any type of belief and as many as it can all on one land. It can be inferred through the reading that Gaiman wants to…show more content…
There are two tricks in which are vital to the novel and the theme mythology. The first one is the gold coin which is connected to the sun and the silver coin that is supposed to represent the moon. Both coins have deep meaning and connection with mythology. For one, the gold coin is supposed to have belong to the King of America, which the reader can infer makes Shadow some sort of royalty because he is able to wheel its power. This coin is not only what connects Shadow to his identity of Baldur, but it also represents new life, which is what brings Laura back to life. The silver coin which its self is describe to have the face of the statue of liberty on it gives Shadow freedom from death and is what brings him back to life when he dies on Mr. Wednesdays vigil. Nonetheless, the coin could be Shadows connection to both the new and old gods. The gold coin connects Shadow with the sun god but also shows his nature by naming him the King of America. Yet the silver coin that is given to him by one of the Zorya sisters, which can be inferred as the old Slavic goddess of the moon and night, shows that he has the blessings form the old gods as he journeys through this new mythical world as a new god made from American belief. The coins show his identity of the rebirth of a well know god Odin and one of his own. He mixes together both roles and shows the reader what a god can do in
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