Essay: The “American Gods” Trinity

Greg Gibbs: Capturing the NightTime for the essay on the monthly book club reading, Neil Gaiman’s American Gods.  (Spoilers, of course!)

I spent a lot of time following connections between symbols, mythological figures, and themes; I was struck by the deliberate choices in which gods were represented and which were not.  When you think about different pantheons, you can come up with all kinds of symbols being represented, and not all symbols appear in every pantheon.  Gaiman made the choice of using very specific types of gods connecting thanks to very specific symbols; here is my essay on the topic.

This is only my second book essay where visual support is actually part of the critical argument; the previous one was on Alice in Wonderland.

Three groups of traditional deities or complexes prominently feature in Neil Gaiman’s American Gods: gods of light and (re)birth, cthonian gods of death and destruction, and gods of knowledge and trickery.  These are not factions, all the gods from one complex are not working together; but they represent the domains, the groups of symbols, that form the core of the novel — the solar myth.  A mind map below shows some of the associations we can make.  Continue reading “Essay: The “American Gods” Trinity”