Existentialism In American Gods

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The theory of Existentialism in Relation to American Gods by Neil Gaiman Throughout the novel, American Gods by Neil Gaiman, the philosophical theory that emphasizes the existence of an individual also known as existentialism, is demonstrated amongst different characters. The protagonist Shadow, is an individual trying to determine his own development of his acts of free will. However, Wednesday interferes with Shadow’s growth of his own individualism. How can the theory of existentialism by Maximilian Beck be demonstrated in the novel, American Gods by Neil Gaiman, through the protagonist, Shadow? Existentialism is defined as a philosophical theory or approach that emphasizes the existence of the individual person as a free and responsible…show more content…
Both of these theorists agree upon the theory that a man must be thrown into complete solitariness for the best result and self-realization, also known as their “existence.” If a man does not complete this task, then one does not really “exist.” This means that the man is not really oneself, but signifies the overall mass or public instead of being individually unique. Kierkegaard and Nietzsche request upon a daring attitude of self-discipline so the man is able to prevent himself from getting attached to something outside of himself, instead of enduring his journey to self-realization. In connection to American Gods, Shadow is portrayed as alone in the beginning of the novel, therefore, this can represent the necessary state of complete solitariness according to Kierkegaard and Nietzsche. However, Shadow did not stay in a state of complete solitariness due to the influence of Wednesday. Shadow agreed upon entering Wednesday’s world by working for him, but little did he know that Wednesday would play a bigger role in his life than by just being his boss. Therefore, it can be argued that Shadow did not correctly complete his own self-realization (existentialism) due to the incorrect

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