Open Access Thesis
Master of Arts (MA)
Department or School
English Language and Literature
Ramona Caponegro, Ph.D., Chair
Annette Wannamaker, Ph.D.
Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book presents a child, Nobody (Bod) Owens, who grows up in a graveyard with ghosts and a vampire as primary guardians. While Bod is not technically an adolescent for the entire novel, he is constantly struggling with adolescent themes—primarily being in a liminal state—and the graveyard provides a heterotopian space for Bod to escape “normal” society and to develop an “othered” identity. Gaiman’s strategic use of monsters reflects adolescence as he presents the repressive human organization, the “Jacks of All Trades,” trying to control society, while Bod becomes a queer monster/human hybrid representing the resistant individual. It is as Bod transitions between the worlds of the living and the dead that he becomes aware of how he does not fully belong to either, and he must come to terms with his own liminal otherness. Gaiman displays how an adolescent can develop and grow to become anyone he wants, even Nobody.
Millet, Aleesa Marie, "Only a body “who nobody owns:” Adolescent identity in Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book" (2015). Master's Theses and Doctoral Dissertations. 704.