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Symbols in American Gods

Analyzing the symbols of the Gold and Silver coins in the book American Gods by Neil Gaiman.
by

Kerri Grove

on 31 January 2013

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Transcript of Symbols in American Gods

Symbols in American Gods Gold coin and Silver coin The gold coin is given to Shadow by Mad Sweeny. Shadow places this coin into Laura's grave, not knowing that this will cause her to come back from the dead to live in limbo.

The silver coin is given to Shadow by Zorya Polunochnaya, the Midnight Star. She plucked this coin from the moon, and Shadow keeps it with him for the rest of the book. Background Gold, symbolically, is usually related
to the sun. This gives gold certain
attributes such as vitality, health, and
wisdom. The Gold coin Silver represents purity, focus, and strength.

Silver is a metal that can withstand much
abuse, yet still be molded fairly easily. This
is symbolic of subtle strength. "The message
here is that we ourselves can be flexible
enough to be molded into something
better – but strong enough to keep our
core integrity in tact." The SILVER coin :) Symbolism of coins in general by Neil Gaiman Prezi by Kerri Grove The gold coin that Shadow receives in the beginning of the book is a coin plucked from the sun. When Zorya Polunochnaya finds out that Shadow gave it to his dead wife, she gets a little bit irritated, and finds it necessary to pluck a silver coin from the moon to protect Shadow, although she says it will not provide as much protection. I think this coin, and the fact that it brought Laura back to life, have a significance because it is an object representing Shadow's absolute love for Laura. He doesn't know the effect it will have, or that it is a protection coin, but he gives it to her to keep with her in the grave; a symbol of his devotion even when he knew she was unfaithful. Her appreciation of this fact and the gift is what draws her to Shadow every time. When Laura's 'ghost' is destroyed at the end of the book, Shadow takes the coin and Laura is sent on her way, giving her freedom to appreciate that while she made mistakes, she helped Shadow in his task, and thus she can die in peace. http://www.symbolic-meanings.com/2007/11/01/symbolism-of-silver/ Shadow wakes up in the middle of the night and visits Zorya Polunochnaya on the rooftop. She plucks this silver coin from the moon and gives it to Shadow as a replacement for the gold coin he gave to Laura. She says, however, that this silver coin will not provide as much protection as the gold coin, since the moon shines less brightly than the sun, yet it will protect him in a different way. Shadow finds himself performing many coin tricks with this coin throughout the rest of the story. Going back to the symbolism of silver, I think this coin represents Shadow's transition in the book very well. His character before he receives the coin is very apathetic and boring. As I look back on the story, after he got this silver coin was when the story became interesting; Shadow became more of a round character. He had cares and passions. And at the end of the book, we see Shadow becoming a hero even! Two things I thought about that I thought were cool... As coins are flipped, there is
an equal chance that they might
land on heads, or tails. This
possibility is random. I think this could represent the choices Shadow faced; whether to stay with Mr. Wednesday, or join the side of the New Gods. Coins can also be spun. As the coin tips over and begins to spin on its side, it spins faster and faster before coming to an abrupt stop! This symbolizes the conflicts between the New and Old gods; how their fighting became more and more urgent and violent as time progressed, before suddenly realizing (with help from Shadow) that they could coexist.
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