Mythological Melting Pot: A Study of the Use of Simulacra and Myth in Neil Gaiman’s American Gods.
Vries, M.J. de
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In this thesis, I will look at American Gods from a postcolonial perspective and explore how Gaiman uses the mythologies belonging to both the ethnic minorities and the ruling class of America to create and destroy the identities of its characters, immigrants and even the country itself. Making use of Jean Baudrillard’s Simulacra and Simulation, the paper shows how the old and the new gods are a simulation of American society. Three groups are discussed extensively: the old gods, the new gods and the humans caught in the crossfire. All the different groups are in their own way linked up to Baudrillard’s theory, which is used to explain and illustrate how Gaiman actually went about representing the minorities present in the book. The final chapter of this dissertation consists of an extensively annotated piece of original fiction that fills one of the gaps of the original story, namely that of Muslims in a post 9/11 society. Focussing on the favourite wife of the Prophet, the story demonstrates the way the media (the new gods) change the perception of different images, and how this change of perception affects the actual images (the old gods) that are turned into simulacra.