Neil Gaiman's American Gods

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In my thesis, I analyse Neil Gaiman’s American Gods which highlights that a stable national identity is not possible, and the oppositions imposed by national narratives are limiting for the nation and its people. Yet, fiction can help us become aware of the illusion of the binary oppositions, and their inherent limitations in defining both personal and national identity. In chapter one, I discuss the definition of myth and their function in society as a way to give meaning to life. The myths can be either “true” or “false” stories, sacred or profane, and the difference between the two is both contextual and structural. I further discuss the fantasy genre, and how the impossibility inherent in it, makes it possible to tell symbolic truths. Gaiman’s novel is highly intertextual and therefore borrows elements from both myths and folk tales, while also breaking or broadening their rules to create new meanings that resonate with contemporary society. I further examine Gaiman’s use of the pan-pantheon which works as both allusion to myth…show more content…
The novel investigates what happened to the immigrants’ beliefs as they came to America, but also presents new gods who are born from the “worship” of a capitalist and technology-based society. I discuss how the American system is not based on sacred myths but on the immigrant American’s ideologies. The search for myth, realised in the roadside attractions, is therefore rather a search for stability and meaning, which is a tendency for all societies: all structures want to be stable and fixed, though this is not possible. This leads to the further discussion of America’s lack of a collective identity, because the nation’s social history is a compilation of the many different cultures that settled in America. While America may not be one united country, this fact also opens up for the possibility of breaking the cultural boundaries of truth and

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