Term of Award

Spring 2020

Degree Name

Master of Arts in English (M.A.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Literature

Committee Chair

Dustin Anderson

Committee Member 1

Joe Pellegrino

Committee Member 2

Lindsey Chappell


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.

OCLC Number


Research Data and Supplementary Material