Whitewashing Who We Worship: Amelioration and Cultural Imperatives in Neil Gaiman’s American Gods
Term of Award
Master of Arts in English (M.A.)
Document Type and Release Option
Thesis (open access)
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Department of Literature
Committee Member 1
Committee Member 2
Neil Gaiman’s novel American Gods creates a penetrating and sharp commentary on the state of essentially, every aspect of contemporary American society by populating it with myths that arrives on American shores over countless generations. From the characters to the settings, Gaiman utilizes the often-overlooked fact that myths can be found in every aspect of life. In many ways, Gaiman is building, or perhaps evolving, Joseph Campbell’s The Hero With A Thousand Faces and Roland Barthes’ Mythologies to discuss the unique nature of contemporary myths and how ancient myths still play a role in our society. I contend that in American Gods, Gaiman has created an evolution of the kinds of mythologies that Campbell and Barthes develop by calling our attention to the fact that we actively avoid the knowledge of unsavory nature of cultural— or for Gaiman, mythic— figures in our ancient and recent pasts.
Bauer, Samantha, "Whitewashing Who We Worship: Amelioration and Cultural Imperatives in Neil Gaiman’s American Gods" (2020). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 2121.
Research Data and Supplementary Material