American Gods

American Gods

Shadow Moon (Baldur) Character Analysis

The protagonist of the novel, Shadow is a large, tall man whose defining feature is his inability to be defined. As his name suggests, Shadow is hard to read, often hiding his true feelings and reflecting back to people what they see in him. Though people expect him to be dumb because he is large and strong, Shadow is actually well-read, well-spoken, and incredibly thoughtful. He is still devoted to his late wife, Laura, who calls him “puppy” – a nickname that showcases how loyal Shadow is to those he loves. Shadow also feels obligated to his employer Mr. Wednesday and the Old Gods, fulfilling his promises even when they cost him his life. Over the course of the novel, Shadow is forced to learn more about his identity, including the fact that Mr. Wednesday (Odin) is his father, in order to become truly alive rather than passively floating through his life. As the reincarnation of the Norse god Baldur and a manifestation of the mysterious King of America, Shadow acts as a bridge in the novel – between the Old Gods and the New Gods, between gods and men, and even between life and death. Shadow’s coins, both the gold and the silver, give him protection from death as well as showcasing his powers as Baldur, a sun god. Shadow embraces honesty where the other gods choose lies, making him ultimately more successful and able to unravel the many mysteries of the novel.

Shadow Moon (Baldur) Quotes in American Gods

The American Gods quotes below are all either spoken by Shadow Moon (Baldur) or refer to Shadow Moon (Baldur). 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 1 Quotes

And the moral of this story, according to Johnnie Larch, was this: don't piss off people who work in airports.
“Are you sure it's not something like ‘kinds of behavior that work in a specialized environment, such as a prison, can fail to work and in fact be- come harmful when used outside such an environment’?” said Shadow, when Johnnie Larch told him the story.
“No, listen to me, I'm telling you, man,” said Johnnie Larch, “don't piss off those bitches in airports.”

Related Characters: Shadow Moon (Baldur) (speaker), Johnnie Larch
Page Number: 14
Explanation and Analysis:

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"Believe," said the rumbling voice. "If you are to survive, you must believe."
"Believe what?" asked Shadow. "What should I believe?"
He stared at Shadow, the buffalo man, and he drew himself up huge, and his eyes filled with fire. He opened his spit-flecked buffalo mouth and it was red inside with the flames that burned inside him, under the earth.
"Everything," roared the buffalo man.

Related Characters: Shadow Moon (Baldur) (speaker), The Buffalo Man
Page Number: 17
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 2 Quotes

"I brought you mead to drink because it's traditional. And right now we need all the tradition we can get. It seals our bargain." …
“You work for me. You protect me… In the unlikely event of my death, you will hold my vigil. And in return I shall make sure that your needs are adequately taken care of."

Related Characters: Mr. Wednesday (Odin) (speaker), Shadow Moon (Baldur)
Page Number: 33-34
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 3 Quotes

"These are the gods who have passed out of memory. Even their names are lost. The people who worshiped them are as forgotten as their gods. Their totems are long since broken and cast down. Their last priests died without passing on their secrets.
"Gods die. And when they truly die they are unmourned and unremembered. Ideas are more difficult to kill than people, but they can be killed, in the end."

Related Characters: Mr. Ibis (Thoth) (speaker), Shadow Moon (Baldur)
Page Number: 54
Explanation and Analysis:

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She did not look at him. "You've gotten yourself mixed up in some bad things, Shadow. You're going to screw it up, if someone isn't there to watch out for you. I'm watching out for you. And thank you for my present."

Related Characters: Laura Moon (speaker), Shadow Moon (Baldur)
Related Symbols: Shadow’s Coins
Page Number: 58
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 4 Quotes

"You were given protection once, but you lost it already. You gave it away. You had the sun in your hand. And that is life itself. All I can give you is much weaker protection. The daughter, not the father. But all helps. Yes?" Her white hair blew about her face in the chilly wind, and Shadow knew that it was time to go back inside.
"Do I have to fight you? Or play checkers?" he asked.
"You do not even have to kiss me," she told him. “Just take the moon."

Related Characters: Shadow Moon (Baldur) (speaker), Zorya Polunochnaya
Related Symbols: Shadow’s Coins
Page Number: 83
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 5 Quotes

"In other countries, over the years, people recognized the places of power… And so they would build temples, or cathedrals, or erect stone circles, or… well, you get the idea."
"There are churches all across the States, though," said Shadow.
"In every town… And about as significant, in this context, as dentists' offices. No, in the USA, people still get the call, or some of them, and they feel themselves being called to from the transcendent void, and they respond to it by building a model out of beer bottles of somewhere they've never visited... Roadside attractions: people feel themselves being pulled to places where, in other parts of the world, they would recognize that part of themselves that is truly transcendent, and buy a hot dog and walk around, feeling satisfied on a level they cannot truly describe, and profoundly dissatisfied on a level beneath that."

Related Characters: Shadow Moon (Baldur) (speaker), Mr. Wednesday (Odin) (speaker)
Page Number: 106
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia

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Chapter 7 Quotes

"Okay. As soon as they say Odin's name, the reed transforms into a spear and stabs the guy in the side, the calf intestines become a thick rope, the branch becomes a bough of a tree, and the tree pulls up, and the ground drops away, and the king is left hanging there to die with a wound in his side and his face going black. End of story. White people have some fucked-up gods, Mister Shadow."

Related Characters: Sam Black Crow (speaker), Shadow Moon (Baldur), Mr. Wednesday (Odin)
Page Number: 152
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 8 Quotes

"I did it like he said. I did it all like he said, but I gave you the wrong coin. It wasn't meant to be that coin. That's for royalty. You see? I shouldn't even have been able to take it. That's the coin you'd give to the King of America himself…
"You did it like who said, Sweeney?"
"Grimnir. The dude you call Wednesday. You know who he is? Who he really is?"

Related Characters: Mad Sweeney (speaker), Shadow Moon (Baldur), Mr. Wednesday (Odin)
Related Symbols: Shadow’s Coins
Page Number: 193
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Chapter 11 Quotes

"You shouldn't think badly of the town because of this," said Brogan. "It is a good town." …
"So what I'm saying is that Lakeside's lucky. We've got a little of everything here—farm, light industry, tourism, crafts. Good schools."
Shadow looked at her in puzzlement. There was something empty at the bottom of all her words. It was as if he were listening to a salesman, a good salesman, who believed in his product, but still wanted to make sure you went home with all the brushes or the full set of encyclopedias.

Related Characters: Shadow Moon (Baldur), Richie Hinzelmann
Page Number: 281
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 12 Quotes

"Take a sip of this," he said. "Only a sip."
The liquid was pungent, and it evaporated in his mouth like a good brandy, although it did not taste like alcohol. Wednesday took the flask away, and pocketed it. "It's not good for the audience to find themselves walking about backstage. That's why you're feeling sick. We need to hurry to get you out of here."

Related Characters: Mr. Wednesday (Odin) (speaker), Shadow Moon (Baldur)
Page Number: 307
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 13 Quotes

"I can believe things that are true and I can believe things that aren't true and I can believe things where nobody knows if they're true or not. I can believe in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny and Marilyn Monroe… I believe that the future sucks and I believe that the future rocks and I believe that one day White Buffalo Woman is going to come back and kick everyone's ass…”

"Would you believe that all the gods that people have ever imagined are still with us today?"
" …maybe."
“And that there are new gods out there, gods of computers and telephones and whatever, and that they all seem to think there isn't room for them both in the world. And that some kind of war is kind of likely.”

Related Characters: Shadow Moon (Baldur) (speaker), Sam Black Crow (speaker)
Page Number: 348
Explanation and Analysis:

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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 17 Quotes

When he was opposite Shadow, he paused. "God, I hate you," he said. He wished he could just have taken out a gun and shot him, and he knew that he could not. And then he jabbed the stick in the air toward the hanging man, in a stabbing motion. It was an instinctive gesture, containing all the frustration and rage inside Town. He imagined that he was holding a spear and twisting it into Shadow's guts.

Related Characters: Mr. Town (speaker), Shadow Moon (Baldur)
Related Symbols: The Ash Stick
Page Number: 443
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 18 Quotes

“It's never a matter of old and new. It's only about patterns. Now. My stick, please."
"Why do you want it?"
"It's a souvenir of this whole sorry mess," said Mr. World. "Don't worry, it's not mistletoe." He flashed a grin. "It symbolizes a spear, and in this sorry world, the symbol is the thing."

Related Characters: Mr. World (Low Key Lyesmith / Loki) (speaker), Laura Moon (speaker), Shadow Moon (Baldur), Mr. Wednesday (Odin)
Related Symbols: The Ash Stick
Page Number: 468
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

People believe, thought Shadow, It's what people do. They believe. And then they will not take responsibility for their beliefs; they conjure things, and do not trust the conjurations. People populate the darkness; with ghosts, with gods, with electrons, with tales. People imagine, and people believe: and it is that belief, that rock-solid belief, that makes things happen.

Related Characters: Shadow Moon (Baldur)
Page Number: 477
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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“You made peace,” said the buffalo man. “You took our words and made them your own. They never understood that they were here – and the people who worshiped them were here – because it suits us that they are here. But we can change our minds. And perhaps we will.”
“Are you a god?” asked Shadow.
The buffalo-headed man shook his head. Shadow thought, for a moment, that the creature was amused. “I am the land,” he said.

Related Characters: The Buffalo Man (speaker), Shadow Moon (Baldur)
Page Number: 488
Explanation and Analysis:

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Postscript Quotes

"You and I, we have walked the same path. I also hung on the tree for nine days, a sacrifice of myself to myself. I am the lord of the Aes. I am the god of the gallows."
"You are Odin," said Shadow.
The man nodded thoughtfully, as if weighing up the name. "They call me many things, but, yes, I am Odin, Bor's son," he said.
"I saw you die," said Shadow. "I stood vigil for your body. You tried to destroy so much, for power. You would have sacrificed so much for yourself. You did that."
"I did not do that."
"Wednesday did. He was you."
"He was me, yes. But I am not him."

Related Characters: Shadow Moon (Baldur) (speaker), Mr. Wednesday (Odin)
Page Number: 521
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Shadow Moon (Baldur) Character Timeline in American Gods

The timeline below shows where the character Shadow Moon (Baldur) appears in American Gods. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Mythology, Belief, and Community Theme Icon
Change and Growth Theme Icon
Deception Theme Icon
A man named Shadow Moon, the protagonist, has now spent three years in prison, but he finds jail to... (full context)
Mythology, Belief, and Community Theme Icon
Deception Theme Icon
Low Key Lyesmith asks Shadow if he will be happy once he gets out of prison, but Shadow responds, “Call... (full context)
Change and Growth Theme Icon
Life, Death, Desire, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Deception Theme Icon
A few weeks later, Low Key gets suddenly transferred to another prison, leaving Shadow his copy of Histories with several contraband coins hidden in the pages so that Shadow... (full context)
Mythology, Belief, and Community Theme Icon
Life, Death, Desire, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Deception Theme Icon
The last week before Shadow’s release date, he is jittery and on-edge. He calls Laura, who tries to reassure him... (full context)
Life, Death, Desire, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Deception Theme Icon
Two days before Shadow’s release, a guard pulls Shadow aside. After commenting on Shadow’s strangely calm demeanor and insulting... (full context)
Mythology, Belief, and Community Theme Icon
Life, Death, Desire, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Shadow numbly packs his few possessions, leaving behind Low Key’s copy of Herodotus and the coins.... (full context)
Change and Growth Theme Icon
Deception Theme Icon
As the bus gets closer to the city, Shadow thinks of an old cellmate named Johnnie Larch who was unable to board a flight... (full context)
Change and Growth Theme Icon
Life, Death, Desire, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Deception Theme Icon
Shadow makes it to the airport, worrying that his e-ticket will not work today and further... (full context)
Life, Death, Desire, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
While Shadow waits for his flight, he calls Robbie and leaves a message, then calls Laura just... (full context)
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
Shadow boards his plane and quickly falls asleep. He dreams that he is in a cave... (full context)
Deception Theme Icon
The plane lands at an airport, where Shadow stumbles around before finding out that he is in St. Louis instead of Eagle Point,... (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
The Sacredness of American Land Theme Icon
...man, sipping a glass of Jack Daniel’s despite the protests of the flight attendants, tells Shadow that he has a job for him. Shadow, confused as to how this man knows... (full context)
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Shadow again refuses the job, but asks the bearded man’s name. The man chuckles about the... (full context)
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Shadow drives for a couple of hours, and then stops at a place called Jack’s Crocodile... (full context)
Chapter 2
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...a cemetery in a Cadillac. Back in Jack’s Crocodile Bar, Mr. Wednesday continues to persuade Shadow to take a job with him. When Shadow protests that he already has a job,... (full context)
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Shadow sighs, realizing he really doesn’t have a job, and then pulls out a coin. He... (full context)
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...Southern Comfort and Coke. Mad Sweeney opens a pack of Lucky Strikes and asks if Shadow works for Mr. Wednesday, to which Shadow sighs that he does. Mad Sweeney then claims... (full context)
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Mr. Wednesday brings Shadow a golden drink that tastes oddly sour and sweet, reminding Shadow of the beer inmates... (full context)
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Mad Sweeney warns Shadow that Wednesday is a hustler, and then the bar falls silent. Shadow comments that these... (full context)
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Mad Sweeney puts “Who Loves the Sun” on the jukebox, and then notices that Shadow is doing coin tricks. Mad Sweeney does his own coin trick, reaching into the air... (full context)
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Mad Sweeney brings his coin trick back up, offering to fight Shadow for the secret. Shadow refuses, seeing that Mad Sweeney is clearly drunk, but Mad Sweeney... (full context)
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Shadow wakes up in the back of Wednesday’s car with a spectacular hangover. He wonders aloud... (full context)
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Wednesday stops at a gas station to let Shadow clean up his injuries from fighting Mad Sweeney. Shadow wonders what Laura will say when... (full context)
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...drives towards Eagle Point, heading for the funeral parlor where Laura’s memorial will be held. Shadow looks at the town that used to be his home, as they pull up to... (full context)
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Shadow writes his name in the remembrance book, following his signature with the date and “Puppy”... (full context)
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Audrey starts walking out the door and Shadow follows her again. Shadow asks why Audrey spit on Laura, which Audrey deliberately misunderstands as... (full context)
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Shadow rides with Laura’s mother, Mrs. McCabe, in the hearse to the graveyard. Mrs. McCabe dislikes... (full context)
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As Shadow walks to the Motel America, Audrey pulls up and offers him a ride. Shadow refuses,... (full context)
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Shadow wakes up with his hands tied behind his back and a raging headache in the... (full context)
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The young man (Technical Boy) tells Shadow to tell Mr. Wednesday that Mr. Wednesday is in the “Dumpster of History” while people... (full context)
Chapter 3
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...saying”: “Every hour wounds. The last one kills.” The receptionist at the Motel America gives Shadow his key and reluctantly agrees to call up to Mr. Wednesday’s room, though she regards... (full context)
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Back in his own room, Shadow draws himself a bath, even though he is too big for the tub, trying to... (full context)
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Finally, Shadow falls asleep. He dreams of walking through a room filled with statues, carvings, and images.... (full context)
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Shadow wakes up fully, then goes into the bathroom without turning on any lights. When he... (full context)
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Shadow gets back to his room and finds Laura still on the bed. He passes her... (full context)
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Laura tells Shadow that she was lonely while Shadow was in jail, and that the sex with Robbie... (full context)
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Shadow smells burning plastic and realizes that Laura’s cigarette has burned down to the filter. He... (full context)
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Laura leaves, with graveyard mud clinging to her shoes and the carpet. Shadow rushes over to Wednesday’s room and knocks on the door. Wednesday answers the door wearing... (full context)
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Shadow tells Wednesday that he’s ready to leave Eagle Point tomorrow. Wednesday happily agrees and goes... (full context)
Chapter 4
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The chapter begins by quoting the song “The Midnight Special.” Shadow and Wednesday eat breakfast at a Country Kitchen across the street from the motel. As... (full context)
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Wednesday fills Shadow in on the plan: they will meet some of his associates in one of the... (full context)
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Wednesday asks if Shadow will miss the town, but Shadow responds that he has too many memories of Laura... (full context)
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Shadow and Wednesday arrive in Chicago and park in front of a black brownstone building. They... (full context)
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Shadow and Wednesday go upstairs to a door painted red. A grizzled older man opens the... (full context)
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Shadow goes out to the bathroom and returns to find Czernobog yelling at Wednesday that they... (full context)
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Czernobog then challenges Shadow to a game of checkers. Shadow, having played a lot of checkers in prison, has... (full context)
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...sitting room, serving five bowls of borscht, leathery pot roast, and tough stuffed cabbage rolls. Shadow inquires after the third sister, but Zorya Verchernyaya says that Zorya Polunochnaya is still asleep.... (full context)
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Zorya Verchernyaya insists that Wednesday and Shadow spend the night at their house, though they have to pay the same as they... (full context)
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Shadow dreams that he is a soldier, driving a truck through gunfire over a minefield. He... (full context)
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Zorya Polunochnaya climbs out the window onto the fire escape. Shadow reluctantly follows her into the freezing wind. Zorya Polunochnaya says that the cold does not... (full context)
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Shadow decides that he is dreaming, and decides to tell Zorya Polunochnaya about his dead wife’s... (full context)
Chapter 5
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...the stair” of Madam Life’s house. Only Zorya U is awake to say goodbye to Shadow and Wednesday when they leave. Shadow keeps his silver coin in his hand, flipping it... (full context)
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...theatrically that “Liberty is a bitch who must be bedded on a mattress of corpses.” Shadow murmurs that he thinks Lady Liberty is beautiful, and Wednesday calls this the eternal folly... (full context)
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Wednesday takes Shadow to the bank that he says they will be robbing later, and asks for deposit... (full context)
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Shadow and Wednesday leave the Kinko’s and Wednesday tells Shadow that his new identity is A.... (full context)
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...the cold snow. The cops pull up outside the bank after a few hours and Shadow sees Wednesday give them a business card. After a few minutes, the pay phone rings.... (full context)
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Wednesday continues his performance as Jimmy Gorman until night falls, then tells Shadow to take him to the other First Illinois Bank in town. Wednesday deposits all the... (full context)
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Shadow and Wednesday drive for hours, then reach the House on the Rock. Wednesday explains that... (full context)
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Shadow and Wednesday wander through the large house, then find Czernobog in the Mikado room, which... (full context)
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...Mr. Nancy laughs and says he’d rather have a woman. Mr. Nancy then looks at Shadow and affably comments that Shadow may be big but he looks as stupid as Mr.... (full context)
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Mr. Nancy, Shadow, Czernobog, and Wednesday make their way to the House on the Rock’s famous carousel. Shadow... (full context)
Chapter 6
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...Aldrich’s poem “Unguarded Gates”: a long list of exotic gods brought to America by immigrants. Shadow can’t process what he is seeing as he rides the carousel, looking at Mr. Nancy... (full context)
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Shadow suddenly finds himself in a large hall with a thatched roof and a fire burning... (full context)
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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 to the... (full context)
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Shadow gets to the restaurant and waits outside while his passengers go in. Then he overhears... (full context)
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At three in the morning, two men in suits come in to Shadow’s cell, one with nice-looking hair and bitten fingernails, and the other with glasses and well-kept... (full context)
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Mr. Stone gives Shadow a Snickers bar and asks Shadow to explain what happened at the House on the... (full context)
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Shadow falls into a restless sleep on the small cot in his cell and dreams that... (full context)
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When Shadow wakes again, Laura is shaking his shoulder. For a minute, Shadow thinks that this entire... (full context)
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Shadow thanks Laura for protecting him, then opens the door in the corridor to find that... (full context)
Chapter 7
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...a completely different type of being—archetypes that symbolize the life and roles of all humans. Shadow walks south for several hours through what he assumes to be southern Wisconsin. He hides... (full context)
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Shadow keeps walking and comes across a large black bird picking at the body of a... (full context)
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The raven leads Shadow to a Culver’s Frozen Custard restaurant and a gas station. Shadow orders a burger at... (full context)
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Shadow still has some money from the bank heist with Wednesday, so he buys a junky... (full context)
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Shadow wakes to find someone tapping on his window, asking if he is all right. Shadow... (full context)
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Sam asks Shadow why he went to prison. Shadow explains that he hurt some people badly, noticing that... (full context)
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As they eat, Sam asks Shadow what he does. Shadow tells Sam that he is going to Cairo to meet his... (full context)
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Shadow and Sam finish eating and pay. While walking out to the car, Shadow asks Sam... (full context)
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Shadow stops in El Paso and makes sure that Sam gets safely into her aunt’s house... (full context)
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Lucy explains that she is really the god of television (Media). Lucy offers Shadow a job, working for the New Gods instead of the dead-end Old Gods. Reminded of... (full context)
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The next morning, Shadow gets back on the road. He drives through East St. Louis and notes the beginnings... (full context)
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A small brown cat joins Shadow as he strolls down the river, and he comes across a young girl dressed in... (full context)
Chapter 8
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...that “there’s something the dead are keeping back.” At supper in Cairo with Mr. Ibis, Shadow learns about the funeral parlor business. America usually values nationwide brand names, but people still... (full context)
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...attest. Mr. Ibis clucks that most American historians don’t want to believe this. He and Shadow leave the restaurant and return to the funeral parlor, where Mr. Jacquel (now in human... (full context)
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Shadow watches as Mr. Jacquel methodically opens the girl’s body cavity and catalogues the state of... (full context)
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...Jacquel and Mr. Ibis go into the kitchen and pour a glass of beer for Shadow. They brew it themselves, saying that they do a lot of things for themselves now... (full context)
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Mr. Ibis shows Shadow to his bedroom, then the bathroom where Shadow showers, shaves, and takes stock of his... (full context)
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Shadow drives Mr. Jacquel in their hearse to pick up the body of an old woman... (full context)
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It starts to snow as Shadow drives back to the funeral parlor, and Jacquel comments that Jesus will have a white... (full context)
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Shadow carries the old woman’s body into the funeral parlor, counting himself lucky to have an... (full context)
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...in the dining room: vegetables and rice as well as a bucket of KFC for Shadow. Shadow comments that he had a friend in prison who believed that KFC changed its... (full context)
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Shadow starts to dream that he is with a woman dressed in a leopard-print skirt (Bast)... (full context)
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Shadow wakes early the next morning and notices that all of his old bruises have vanished,... (full context)
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Mad Sweeney jumps when he sees Shadow, nervously starting to explain that he has made a huge mistake while trying to follow... (full context)
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...the 23rd of December, Jacquel and Ibis receive a call from the police and send Shadow to go get the body discreetly. Shadow drives the hearse, thinking about how hearses are... (full context)
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That evening, Shadow, Ibis, and Jacquel drink Jameson Gold in honor of Mad Sweeney, with Mad Sweeney’s body... (full context)
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The next morning, Shadow wakes up with a horrible hangover and is relieved to see that Mad Sweeney is... (full context)
Chapter 9
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...a line from Wendy Cope’s “A Policeman’s Lot” that describes mythical creatures in the rubble. Shadow asks Wednesday about Mr. Stone and Mr. Wood as they drive into Wisconsin. Wednesday replies... (full context)
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The waitress brings Shadow pie and Wednesday talks about his absolute favorite grift: The Bishop Game. One man dressed... (full context)
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...his stories over, Wednesday arranges to meet the waitress at a nearby hotel, explaining to Shadow that this is the best way to make himself feel alive when Shadow questions the... (full context)
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Shadow boards his greyhound bus and falls asleep. He dreams of the cave with the Buffalo... (full context)
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The bus driver shakes Shadow awake at a rest stop for a break. Two teenage girls board the bus and... (full context)
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Shadow wonders how he is going to get to his new apartment, when an old man... (full context)
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Shadow’s new apartment is freezing and Shadow hopes that the cold won’t keep him awake all... (full context)
Meanwhile. A Conversation.
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...his cut of a bank robbery. Looking at a picture Mr. Town shows her of Shadow, Sam makes fun of Mr. Town’s name and refuses to cooperate with Mr. Town at... (full context)
Chapter 10
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...past, from Tom Waits’ song “Tango Til They’re Sore.” During his first night in Lakeside, Shadow dreams that he is a child who has been kept in darkness and away from... (full context)
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Shadow decides to walk in to the town center, knowing that it will be cold but... (full context)
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The cop pulls over and tells Shadow to get in and get warm. Shadow climbs in the back, trying not to think... (full context)
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Chad takes Shadow to get clothes and groceries, introducing Shadow to everyone they meet as Mike Ainsel. Shadow... (full context)
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At 2 that afternoon, Shadow is unpleasantly surprised by a knock on his door, but it’s just Hinzelmann. Hinzelmann has... (full context)
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...everyone in Lakeside works to make sure it is a good town. Hinzelmann leaves, telling Shadow to visit him any time. (full context)
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Shadow’s apartment gets colder and colder, though he has the heater on. Finally Shadow goes to... (full context)
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A couple of days later, Wednesday shows up at Shadow’s apartment. Wednesday explains that Shadow has to stay in Lakeside so that he will be... (full context)
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As they walk through the Vegas airport afterwards, Shadow asks who Wednesday came to visit. Wednesday explains, but Shadow doesn’t hear the name. Wednesday... (full context)
Chapter 11
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...Ben Franklin’s adage: “Three may keep a secret, if two are dead.” Back in Lakeside, Shadow spends his days trying to stay warm and out of trouble. He visits Hinzelmann, looking... (full context)
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Shadow goes to the library and gets a library card form from a stern woman, thinking... (full context)
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Shadow notices a young boy watching him, so he takes out his Liberty coin and does... (full context)
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On his way home, Shadow looks at the dark green car on the ice, hoping that he will win the... (full context)
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Shadow tries to learn coin tricks from the Parlour Illusions book, but can’t make sense of... (full context)
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Shadow dreams that he is above the cave where the earth pushed him out. Star people... (full context)
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The telephone wakes Shadow, and Wednesday angrily asks Shadow why he is drawing attention to himself by dreaming of... (full context)
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San Francisco is much warmer than Lakeside, but Wednesday is still giving Shadow an angry cold shoulder as they walk down Haight Street. Shadow comments that San Francisco... (full context)
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Wednesday and Shadow meet a woman sitting under a tree in a park with a picnic spread around... (full context)
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Easter asks Shadow where his name comes from, and Shadow explains that he traveled with his mother to... (full context)
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Wednesday pays for the coffee, trying to stiff the waitress until Shadow slyly covers the difference. As they leave, Easter asks Shadow about his thunderbird dream. Shadow... (full context)
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...in Lakeside, it’s still cold but no longer quite as freezing. Chad Mulligan comes to Shadow’s apartment the day after he returns from San Francisco. Chad brings a picture of Alison,... (full context)
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Hinzelmann, Shadow, and a man named Brogan are assigned to search County road W for any sign... (full context)
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On his way home from the bar, Shadow stops to get milk and notices that the checkout girl is Alison’s friend Sophie, who... (full context)
Chapter 12
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...up in the idea that America deserves all its blessings. The scene then opens with Shadow driving Wednesday across the Midwest to South Dakota, in a Winnebago that Wednesday has bought.... (full context)
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After driving a while longer, Shadow tells Wednesday that a girl disappeared in Lakeside. Wednesday calls it a tragedy, but focuses... (full context)
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Wednesday tells Shadow to exit the interstate, but finds a roadblock in front of them and a fleet... (full context)
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Wednesday and Shadow walk in silence, as Wednesday warns Shadow not to speak and not to get too... (full context)
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Shadow snaps back into his own body as Wednesday removes Shadow’s hand from the bone shard.... (full context)
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Wednesday and Shadow walk down a hill to a mobile home where a dark-skinned man warns “two white... (full context)
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Whiskey Jack suddenly focuses on Shadow and says that Shadow is hunting for a debt he wishes to pay. Shadow thinks... (full context)
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Shadow and Wednesday find Harry Bluejay at the reservation rec hall. Harry angrily explains that he... (full context)
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Shadow and Wednesday drive back to Lakeside, seeing notices about the missing Alison McGovern as they... (full context)
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Through the month of February, Shadow spends his time taking long walks on the trails around Lakeside. He watches the wildlife... (full context)
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Shadow follows a trail out of town that leads him to a tiny graveyard. Laura is... (full context)
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Shadow and Laura begin to walk, and Shadow revels in how normal it feels to walk... (full context)
Chapter 13
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...ode to failing old friendship from Stephen Sondheim’s song “Old Friends.” One Saturday, Marguerite invites Shadow to dinner, making it clear that this is not a romantic occasion. Shadow accepts and... (full context)
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Shadow gets back to the apartment, where his disconnected phone rings. Wednesday is on the line,... (full context)
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With plenty of time to kill before dinner, Shadow starts reading the Lakeside Council minutes he bought at the library sale. He finds out... (full context)
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Marguerite’s son Leon is watching “The Wizard of Oz” when Shadow comes in. A minute later, Sam comes in with some groceries. With Marguerite busy putting... (full context)
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...and Sam explain that they are half-sisters, with their Cherokee father in common. Sam asks Shadow to tell them about the Ainsel family, but Shadow just says that they are too... (full context)
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On the way to the bar, Sam asks Shadow to explain his alternate identity, and she tells him that a Mr. Town came to... (full context)
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In the bar, Shadow greets Chad with a wave and starts to walk toward a table before he is... (full context)
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Shadow waits at the police station while Chad makes many phone calls trying to straighten out... (full context)
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Shadow sits back down to wait, picking up the Lakeside Minutes he still has with him... (full context)
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Chad processes Shadow as a prisoner, where Shadow signs the paperwork as Mike Ainsel to say goodbye to... (full context)
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The woman guard begins to doze as Shadow watches an episode of “Cheers” on the lobby TV. The characters in the show then... (full context)
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...tape of this conversation, and that the camera does not lie. As Wednesday keeps talking, Shadow notices an odd red glint on Wednesday’s glass eye. The red blur slips around Wednesday’s... (full context)
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...guard startles awake. After the guard hangs up, she apologizes that she has to put Shadow in the holding cell until the Lafayette sheriff’s department comes to get him. Shadow sits... (full context)
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In the car, one of the officers asks if Shadow heard about Wednesday. Shadow recognizes the voice, realizing that the officers are Mr. Nancy and... (full context)
Chapter 14
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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... (full context)
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Shadow, Mr. Nancy, and Czernobog stop at a restaurant for lunch. The waitress comes to their... (full context)
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Back on the road, Mr. Nancy drives and Shadow tries to sleep, but can’t ignore the bad feeling in his stomach. They keep driving,... (full context)
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Shadow parks the VW bus outside the motel next to the park at the center of... (full context)
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Shadow dreams that he is walking through a snowstorm with a grey wolf by his side.... (full context)
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Passing by the bodies of dead men in the trees, Shadow asks what his part is in all this, and Swedish Wednesday tells Shadow that he... (full context)
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Media knocks on Shadow’s door and invites Shadow to dinner. The New Gods’ chauffeur passes out burgers and fries... (full context)
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...dead, no one can give up the fight now. Mr. Nancy goes back inside and Shadow goes closer to the monument marking the center of America. He hears a click behind... (full context)
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Shadow goes back to the motel and finds Media in his room. She offers to make... (full context)
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Shadow walks out of his room and runs into the New Gods’ chauffeur in the motel... (full context)
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At five minutes to midnight, Loki tells Shadow it is time to go to Wednesday’s room and light candles. In Room 5, Wednesday... (full context)
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...turn to leave on Loki’s signal, with Technical Boy murmuring “call no man happy” to Shadow as he goes. (full context)
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The Old Gods wrap up Wednesday’s body in the sheets and Shadow picks him up. As Shadow walks down the corridor, he remembers his pledge to sit... (full context)
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By dawn, Shadow, Mr. Nancy, and Czernobog have reached Princeton, Missouri with Wednesday’s body. Mr. Nancy advises Shadow... (full context)
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As Mr. Nancy keeps driving, Shadow is filled with pride that he has finally made a decision. He hopes he lives... (full context)
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Wednesday’s body is still fresh in the back of the bus. Shadow manipulates Wednesday’s glass eye as he would a coin, looking at the abandoned farm house... (full context)
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The biggest sister pantomimes to Shadow to take off his clothes, and the Norns prop a nine-stepped ladder against the tree.... (full context)
Chapter 15
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...opens with lines of the old spiritual, “Hang me and I’ll be dead and gone.” Shadow hangs for the first day, noticing only boredom and discomfort rather than pain. After that,... (full context)
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Shadow dreams of an elephant headed-man who says he could have made Shadow’s journey easier. The... (full context)
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As the storm beats on Shadow’s body, he feels an odd joy at being fully alive – and feels that the... (full context)
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The next morning, Shadow’s entire body is in pain. He spends the day alternately burning and freezing as the... (full context)
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Shadow wakes again, feeling distant from his body and the tree. The squirrel comes again with... (full context)
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In a rare moment of clarity, Shadow comes back to his body. He sees a naked man standing before the tree. The... (full context)
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During the night, Laura arrives at the tree. Shadow asks hoarsely how Laura found him, and Laura explains that Shadow is the nearest thing... (full context)
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Shadow sleeps, then wakes again and sees that Laura is gone. He has a vicious headache... (full context)
Chapter 16
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...Canada Bill Jones quote, “I know it’s crooked, but it’s the only game in town.” Shadow finds himself in a rocky landscape with a midnight sky. He feels achy, but nothing... (full context)
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The rock path in front of Shadow splits and he knows he must choose which way to go. Before deciding, he turns... (full context)
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Shadow walks down the path, thinking that the Underworld is like the House on the Rock.... (full context)
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Shadow keeps walking his path and comes across a scene of his kid-self asking his mom... (full context)
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When the path splits again, Shadow stops to catch his breath. He feels a hand on his back and a smoky... (full context)
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Shadow glances down the first path, recognizing it as the museum of gods that he saw... (full context)
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The boat’s pilot is a long, thin man with a bird’s head. The pilot greets Shadow and the voice is familiar. Shadow boards the boat and realizes that the pilot is... (full context)
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Mr. Ibis steers the boat to the opposite shore and leads Shadow up to Mr. Jacquel, who looks like a gigantic dog-headed creature. Mr. Jacquel picks Shadow... (full context)
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As the scales tip and turn, Shadow hopes aloud for a happy ending. Bast reminds him that there are no happy endings... (full context)
Chapter 17
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Laura thinks of the spark of life she saw in Shadow when he was hanging on the tree. After staying the night at Shadow’s request, she... (full context)
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...from this specific tree (the world tree), but gave him strict orders not to turn Shadow into a martyr for the Old Gods to rally behind. Mr. Town hates Shadow fiercely,... (full context)
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At the tree, Mr. Town ignores Wednesday’s and Shadow’s bodies and cuts a branch. He fights an instinctual urge to shove the stick into... (full context)
Chapter 18
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The narrative returns to Shadow, who is still in the underworld. Shadow is in the “Nothing” that Mr. Jacquel showed... (full context)
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Shadow comments that Whiskey Jack’s home is in a new place. Whiskey Jack asks if Shadow... (full context)
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Shadow asks if Whiskey Jack is a god. Whiskey Jack says that he is a “culture... (full context)
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...bones at the foot of the tree and starts to loosen the ropes that hold Shadow to the tree. Horus (as a man) helps her, and they lay Shadow’s body down... (full context)
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Easter gently places her hand on Shadow’s heart, then kisses him, breathing air into his lungs. The wound in Shadow’s side begins... (full context)
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Shadow walks around the meadow, looking at the trees and plants as if seeing them for... (full context)
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...the paper. Mr. World welcomes her as the spear carrier and Laura introduces herself as Shadow’s wife. Mr. World asks Laura why she looks so freshly dead, and Laura tells him... (full context)
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...but Laura asks for a cigarette and some answers first. Laura asks why they used Shadow in the plot, to which Mr. World responds that Shadow was simply part of a... (full context)
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Shadow’s thunderbird ride is joyful and electric, as they are tossed through the storm and the... (full context)
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The thunderbird lands in the Rock City parking lot in the middle of a rainstorm. Shadow sees Mr. Town dead in his car, and knows that Laura has been here. Shadow... (full context)
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Shadow then hears Wednesday’s voice telling Shadow that he has done everything exactly right, drawing everyone’s... (full context)
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Shadow asks for Laura and Loki. Wednesday doesn’t answer, so Shadow walks farther into the caverns... (full context)
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...and explains that he had to do it to bring all the Old Gods together. Shadow calls him a Judas goat, betraying the Old Gods, but Wednesday proudly corrects Shadow. He... (full context)
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Wednesday and Loki commiserate to each other about the details of their plan, from finding Shadow to making sure he didn’t have a wife to go home to any longer—they just... (full context)
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Rock City is deserted, and Shadow knows that he has to get Backstage in order to find the battle taking place.... (full context)
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...New Gods stand arrayed on the mountain top, making a sort of arena for themselves. Shadow recognizes all of them, now able to see their true natures. He can tell that... (full context)
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Shadow tells the Old Gods and the New Gods that they are both deluding themselves. Every... (full context)
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One of the Old Gods protests that Odin really did die, and Shadow agrees that Odin’s death was part of the plan. Someone else asks who Shadow is,... (full context)
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Mr. Nancy, now in human form, escorts Shadow back to the normal Rock City. As the gods begin to clean up their injuries,... (full context)
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Laura asks if Shadow found a way to bring her back to life. Shadow says that he did, but... (full context)
Chapter 19
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...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. Shadow answers,... (full context)
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Shadow drives across the border to Florida, then finally reaches Mr. Nancy’s small house outside Fort... (full context)
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Shadow falls asleep that night on Mr. Nancy’s couch, and he dreams of the Buffalo Man... (full context)
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Shadow wakes to Mr. Nancy making breakfast and complains about a headache. Mr. Nancy reaches into... (full context)
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Suddenly, Shadow remembers something and asks Mr. Nancy if he knows an elephant-headed god. Mr. Nancy thinks... (full context)
Chapter 20
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The chapter begins with an e.e. cummings poem praising the arrival of spring. Shadow makes it to Lakeside in the morning, surprised at how little it has changed while... (full context)
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When Shadow reaches the car, he can feel the foul atmosphere surrounding the vehicle. He makes a... (full context)
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Underneath the ice, Shadow opens his eyes and sees the klunkers of years past, impossibly clear through the murky... (full context)
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Shadow wakes in pain, finding himself in a small bathroom hot with steam. Hinzelmann tenderly helps... (full context)
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Shadow’s head clears after the shock of the cold water and he wonders how Hinzelmann, a... (full context)
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Shadow realizes that Hinzelmann controls who comes into and out of Lakeside, angrily asking Hinzelmann if... (full context)
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Hinzelmann tells Shadow that he is an Old God who was turned into a “kobold” in the Black... (full context)
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...over to tell him that the klunker went through the ice. Hinzelmann tries to accuse Shadow of threatening him, but Chad reveals that he heard their entire conversation about the lake.... (full context)
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...woodenly shifts Hinzelmann’s body so that his head is in the fire in the fireplace. Shadow assures Chad that the shot was self-defense, not murder, but Chad can’t seem to hear... (full context)
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In the car, Shadow asks Chad what happened with Audrey. Chad tells him that Audrey returned to Eagle Point... (full context)
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After sending Chad to see Marguerite, Shadow drives south to Madison, Wisconsin. Meanwhile, Samantha Black Crow closes up the coffee shop she... (full context)
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...the sky, a woman with a buffalo head, and a man she once knew named Shadow. Natalie starts to ask more about Shadow, and then notices that Sam is now carrying... (full context)
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Shadow parks near the Madison capital building and calls information to find out where Sam will... (full context)
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Shadow reaches Czernobog’s building in Chicago, noticing that the entire place seems much cleaner than the... (full context)
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Czernobog arrives home and Shadow greets him, saying that he has come to fulfill his promise. Czernobog tells Shadow to... (full context)
Postscript
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...city, full of sunshine almost all day during the summer. There are few tourists, including Shadow, who wanders alone, marveling at the sense of continuity here. Shadow smiles at everyone he... (full context)
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Shadow goes to read in a park and an old man in a dark cloak and... (full context)
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Shadow tells Odin he has a gift, then “magically” makes Wednesday’s glass eye appear in Odin’s... (full context)