American Gods: Why is Shadow not alive?
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Personally, I don't really know why this is. I've heard people say he is in shock, but according to Laura, this state has existed before all the weird stuff started happening. Plus, if it had been shock it would have been nice it he could have gotten over it at some point. Whatever the reason for Shadow's flatness, I can't really like it. For me characters are important, and in American gods, none of the characters feel real. Which would have been ok if at least Shadow was someone I could relate to, but alas. No such luck...
I am not expert enough in the craft of writing to know what makes the difference between a shadow character and a full-blooded one which you love or hate. Wednesday had more depth though. Is it dialogue? Is it what they do? I'm thinking of some of my best beloved characters and the contrast between them and Shadow, and it seems they talk more, become involved in the solutions to problems, fight against them, and we see some of their inner struggles with situations or themselves.
So did Gaiman do this on purpose? If so, why? That's what I don't get, I thought I knew because I expected a different ending, but that fizzled, and now I don't know why he would have purposely done this.
From an intro to The Hero with a Thousand Faces, describing the monomyth in a nutshell:
"A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man."
>2 MrsLee: I'm not sure if you've mentioned it in one of the other discussions before, MrsLee, but which ending and theory did you have?
Gaiman took it beyond the original peoples to show that everyone is a newcomer to this land? I suppose that's what he was doing, showing how the original ones came with gods who are forgotten, and even the people we call "Native" Americans came here from elsewhere originally. In my mind, although he tried hard to give the Land a voice and personality, it didn't come off well. The ending was very confused in my mind.
That may be just me. I like resolved endings, and this one just wasn't.
>6 kaulsu: I thought he grew too. But not that much at all, and not enough to warrant his being the hero in all this.
The definition of a hero as named in #3 above works for me in this book. Shadow is a hero in the same sense as is Odysseus in that regard.