American Gods by Neil Gaiman: What Is Gaiman Saying About Sacrifice, and How Does He Illustrate His Perspective on Sacrifice Throughout the Novel?
After he is released from prison, he starts out on a pre-destined path that whisks him across the nation in preparation for a war of the gods. Through all of the unexplainable, he watches and says nothing. He rarely questions the actuality of events he witnesses, and never tries to run from the adventures. There are only a few times the audience is allowed to see that Shadow is somewhat bitter about all that he has seen. Shadow himself admits that he is numb to life after becoming aware his wife was unfaithful, "anyway nothing's really surprised me since Laura...since I learned she was screwing Robbie...that one hurt...everything else just sits on the surface". Neil Gaiman intentionally does not describe Shadow very much. He uses Shadow's vagueness to draw the reader in, and help them relate to the main character.
While many novels of this genre are written only to provide an interesting story, American Gods does this but add far more. In a way, how Gaiman wrote the novel can be related to the theme of the novel itself. We as a society are so obsessed with quick entertainment that our books have become hollow plots designed to appeal to our raw senses of action and romance. Neil Gaiman’s American Gods is very deliberate and offers the rich theme and character development lost by the serial novelists of the contemporary era. The value of the book lies here, and is the basis for recommendation.
To that Wednesday points out to Easter that, " I would agree that millions upon millions of them give each other tokens in your name, and that they still practice the rites of your festival, even down to hunting for hidden eggs. But how many of them know who you are?" (274). Ultimately, Easter admits she knows this and , with a heavy heart, agrees to join Wednesday. Americans are not actually celebrating her true spirit because they have forgotten the ancient stories and celebrations associated with the original Pagan holiday of Ostara (Campbell, Joseph and Bill Moyers, 1988). Why don't people know that when the Easter bunny brings eggs, it is symbolic of the extreme fertility of Spring? How might our country be different if we did teach our children to celebrate spring, and the sun, and the new growth of the Earth in Spring-time?
He is both discreet and subtle when mentioning sometimes radical ideas and views about language and religion, which creates a very educated and effective experience for the reader, which later entices them to learn more about the concepts that they read about.
Campbell, Joseph and Bill Moyers. The Power of Myth with Bill Moyers. New York: Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc., 1988. Print.
Cave, Damien and Todd Heisler. "The Way North." New York Times [New York, NY] 24 June 2014. N.p. Web. 12 April, 2015.
Gaiman, Neil. "American Gods: Letter to Reviewers." Neil Gaiman. 9 February, 2001. Web. 18 April, 2015.
Gaiman, Neil. American Gods: The Tenth Anniversary Edition (Author's Preferred Text).