by Simon Blevins
Many heroes have become redundant in their archetypal nature, yet some are unique and break past these roles. Shadow, from the American Gods, appears to be a classic hero with a touch of antihero. Shadow is a newly freed convict trying to return home after years of incarceration.
Upon his release he discovers that his wife is dead. In an attempt to escape his past and find work he embarks on an epic journey through which he explores a world of forgotten Gods struggling to survive in America.
What makes him unique is his incredible maturity.From the start of the story he is a polite individual with a strong control over his anger. This maturity would be less surprising with a stagnant hero; however, he changes a great deal throughout the story.
Shadow starts his adventure with a vague, indirect denial of the world and a lack of closure with his wife's death. His inner change is epitomized when he is hung from the world tree in a sigil to Oden. During this time Shadow looks inwards and comes to terms with his existence. He then rejects the deceptions of the world when he opens the trunk of the car. In the epilogue Shadow cuts the last of his earthly ties in preparation for a death that won't come, concluding his inner change. His development through the story might appear subtle yet it is monumental, I urge any fiction lover to accompany Shadow through the American Gods.