Conflicting Archetypes in “American Gods” by Neil Gaiman: Issue 02

In this installment, Shadow accepts the job as bodyguard for Mr. Wednesday and then has an unpleasant encounter with Technical Boy.

Wednesday and Technical Boy embody two archetypes that are in conflict with each other. Wednesday is a manifestation of the Trickster as embodied in the American con man or highwayman, the person who lives on the road, scheming and chiseling people in order to get by. Technical Boy is a modern archetype, that of technology as a god. There is a tension between the two, and the arrogant Technical Boy views Wednesday as an archaic thing whose time has passed.

You tell Wednesday this, man. You tell him he’s history. Tell him we are the future and we don’t give a fuck about him. You fucking tell him that, man. He has been consigned to the dumpster of history, while people like me ride our limos down the super-highway of tomorrow. Tell him that language is a virus and that religion is an operating system and that prayers are just so much fucking spam.

What is the most fascinating to me about this is the fact that we may be living in a time when new archetypes are forming. The digital age has altered human existence in such a way that it has thrust open the doorway to a place where it is possible for new archetypes to arise. It really feels like we are in the midst of a paradigm shift of such proportions that we may need new archetypes to help us navigate the new landscape.

As I look around me, I see people reacting to this paradigm shift in different ways. Some people are energized and inspired, while others are fearful and seek to return to the relative safety of the bygone era. It’s no wonder that there is so much polarization in the socio-political climate right now. The storm is gathering, so to speak.

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4 Comments

Filed under Literature

4 responses to “Conflicting Archetypes in “American Gods” by Neil Gaiman: Issue 02

  1. Fascinating. Several people have recommended Gaiman’s American Gods recently, so it’s nice to dip into it via your posts. I wonder … might there be timeless, ageless archetypes (all wandering around in the Collective Library), and we draw (or redraw) them anew for the times?

    • You should definitely read American Gods. The book is amazing. I have been enjoying the graphic series, but actually considering reading the book again, even though I have Gaiman’s new book, “Norse Mythology,” near the top of my book pile 🙂

  2. oh, i could say a lot about this! lol i love how you connect this excerpt to ‘real’ life and these surely *are* morphic times.

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