American Gods

American Gods

One of the most important figures in West African and Caribbean folklore, Anansi is a spider god who embodies the spirit of stories, boasts, and trickery. His worship comes mostly through the oral tradition, as the Astante people of Ghana tell many stories of how Anansi’s bravado, cunning, and sly wit help him triumph over stronger animals and people. In the novel, Mr. Nancy is an old friend of Mr. Wednesday’s and brings all the Old Gods together through his stories. He acts as a sort of uncle figure for Shadow, teasing the young man but giving him good advice about how to find his own identity and hold his own among the other gods.

Mr. Nancy (Anansi) Quotes in American Gods

The American Gods quotes below are all either spoken by Mr. Nancy (Anansi) or refer to Mr. Nancy (Anansi). For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Mythology, Belief, and Community Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the William Morrow edition of American Gods published in 2013.
Chapter 14 Quotes

Shadow was stretched out full length on the seat in the back. He felt like two people, or more than two. There was part of him that felt gently exhilarated: he had done something. He had moved. It wouldn't have mattered if he hadn't wanted to live, but he did want to live, and that made all the difference. He hoped he would live through this, but he was willing to die, if that was what it took to be alive.

Related Characters: Shadow Moon (Baldur) (speaker), Mr. Wednesday (Odin) (speaker), Mr. Nancy (Anansi) (speaker)
Page Number: 403
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 19 Quotes

“Call no man happy until he is dead. Herodotus.” Mr. Nancy raised a white eyebrow, and he said, "I'm not dead yet, and, mostly because I’m not dead yet, I'm happy as a clamboy.”
“The Herodotus thing. It doesn't mean that the dead are happy,” said Shadow. “It means that you can't judge the shape of someone's life until it's over and done.”

Related Characters: Shadow Moon (Baldur) (speaker), Mr. Nancy (Anansi) (speaker)
Page Number: 485
Explanation and Analysis:

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Mr. Nancy (Anansi) Character Timeline in American Gods

The timeline below shows where the character Mr. Nancy (Anansi) appears in American Gods. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 5
Mythology, Belief, and Community Theme Icon
Life, Death, Desire, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Deception Theme Icon
Plurality and the Power of the Individual in America Theme Icon
...black man in a bright suit and yellow gloves is waiting. Wednesday introduces him as Mr. Nancy . (full context)
Mythology, Belief, and Community Theme Icon
Life, Death, Desire, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Deception Theme Icon
Mr. Nancy is smoking a cigarillo, and Czernobog lights a cigarette, musing that “our kind” like cigarettes... (full context)
Mythology, Belief, and Community Theme Icon
Change and Growth Theme Icon
Plurality and the Power of the Individual in America Theme Icon
The Sacredness of American Land Theme Icon
Mr. Nancy , Shadow, Czernobog, and Wednesday make their way to the House on the Rock’s famous... (full context)
Chapter 6
Mythology, Belief, and Community Theme Icon
Change and Growth Theme Icon
Life, Death, Desire, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Plurality and the Power of the Individual in America Theme Icon
The Sacredness of American Land Theme Icon
...immigrants. Shadow can’t process what he is seeing as he rides the carousel, looking at Mr. Nancy but also seeing a bejeweled spider and an extraordinarily tall man with a feather headdress... (full context)
Mythology, Belief, and Community Theme Icon
Plurality and the Power of the Individual in America Theme Icon
The Sacredness of American Land Theme Icon
...hall with a thatched roof and a fire burning in the center of the room. Mr. Nancy mumbles about how cold it is in Wednesday’s hall, which is called Valaskjalf. About ten... (full context)
Mythology, Belief, and Community Theme Icon
Change and Growth Theme Icon
The fire in the hall goes out, and Mr. Nancy tells Shadow to be careful not to use the word “god” once they get back... (full context)
Chapter 13
Mythology, Belief, and Community Theme Icon
Life, Death, Desire, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
...asks if Shadow heard about Wednesday. Shadow recognizes the voice, realizing that the officers are Mr. Nancy and Czernobog. Shadow thanks them for getting him out, and asks if Wednesday is really... (full context)
Chapter 14
Mythology, Belief, and Community Theme Icon
Change and Growth Theme Icon
Life, Death, Desire, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Deception Theme Icon
The chapter starts with Greg Brown’s song, “In the Dark with You.” Shadow, Mr. Nancy , and Czernobog reach Minneapolis and meet up with some of the other Old Gods.... (full context)
Deception Theme Icon
Plurality and the Power of the Individual in America Theme Icon
Shadow, Mr. Nancy , and Czernobog stop at a restaurant for lunch. The waitress comes to their table... (full context)
Plurality and the Power of the Individual in America Theme Icon
The Sacredness of American Land Theme Icon
...miles north of Lebanon. Nobody comes to this tourist attraction, but a dreary park remains. Mr. Nancy explains that the exact location of the center doesn’t matter, as long as people decide... (full context)
Mythology, Belief, and Community Theme Icon
Life, Death, Desire, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
The Sacredness of American Land Theme Icon
Back on the road, Mr. Nancy drives and Shadow tries to sleep, but can’t ignore the bad feeling in his stomach.... (full context)
Mythology, Belief, and Community Theme Icon
Change and Growth Theme Icon
Life, Death, Desire, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
The Sacredness of American Land Theme Icon
...McDonald’s and Shadow asks what time the handoff of Wednesday’s body will take place. Both Mr. Nancy and Technical Boy answer “Midnight.” Shadow grumbles that no one ever tells him the rules... (full context)
Mythology, Belief, and Community Theme Icon
Change and Growth Theme Icon
Life, Death, Desire, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Mr. Nancy lights a cigarillo and sighs that it is bad to have this many gods in... (full context)
Mythology, Belief, and Community Theme Icon
Change and Growth Theme Icon
Deception Theme Icon
The Sacredness of American Land Theme Icon
...the opening lines of Yeats’ “Second Coming,” ending at “the center cannot hold.” Czernobog and Mr. Nancy speak of the Old Gods’ obligation to give blood for blood, making Mr. Town scoff... (full context)
Mythology, Belief, and Community Theme Icon
Life, Death, Desire, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Plurality and the Power of the Individual in America Theme Icon
By dawn, Shadow, Mr. Nancy , and Czernobog have reached Princeton, Missouri with Wednesday’s body. Mr. Nancy advises Shadow to... (full context)
Mythology, Belief, and Community Theme Icon
Change and Growth Theme Icon
Life, Death, Desire, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Deception Theme Icon
The Sacredness of American Land Theme Icon
As Mr. Nancy keeps driving, Shadow is filled with pride that he has finally made a decision. He... (full context)
Mythology, Belief, and Community Theme Icon
Change and Growth Theme Icon
Life, Death, Desire, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
The Sacredness of American Land Theme Icon
...of the bus, and then all three sisters ask if Shadow will perform the vigil. Mr. Nancy again gives Shadow a chance to back out, but Shadow accepts the vigil. (full context)
Chapter 18
Mythology, Belief, and Community Theme Icon
Life, Death, Desire, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Deception Theme Icon
Plurality and the Power of the Individual in America Theme Icon
...gods are leaving, one at a time and then by the hundreds. A large spider, Mr. Nancy , scuttles over to Shadow and tells him that he has done well. (full context)
Life, Death, Desire, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Mr. Nancy , now in human form, escorts Shadow back to the normal Rock City. As the... (full context)
Chapter 19
Mythology, Belief, and Community Theme Icon
Change and Growth Theme Icon
Life, Death, Desire, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Plurality and the Power of the Individual in America Theme Icon
...tales are maps which can never be completely accurate but which show the territory nonetheless. Mr. Nancy and Shadow drive south for several hours. Mr. Nancy asks Shadow if he is happy.... (full context)
Change and Growth Theme Icon
Life, Death, Desire, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Deception Theme Icon
Shadow drives across the border to Florida, then finally reaches Mr. Nancy ’s small house outside Fort Pierce. Nancy insists that Shadow stay with him, and then... (full context)
Mythology, Belief, and Community Theme Icon
Plurality and the Power of the Individual in America Theme Icon
The Sacredness of American Land Theme Icon
Shadow falls asleep that night on Mr. Nancy ’s couch, and he dreams of the Buffalo Man sitting next to a small fire.... (full context)
Mythology, Belief, and Community Theme Icon
Change and Growth Theme Icon
Deception Theme Icon
Plurality and the Power of the Individual in America Theme Icon
Shadow wakes to Mr. Nancy making breakfast and complains about a headache. Mr. Nancy reaches into a lavishly decorated African... (full context)
Mythology, Belief, and Community Theme Icon
Deception Theme Icon
Suddenly, Shadow remembers something and asks Mr. Nancy if he knows an elephant-headed god. Mr. Nancy thinks of Ganesh, a Hindu god that... (full context)