The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman Essay

The Graveyard Book is a novel by Neil Gaiman. It is about a boy called Nobody Owens who lives in a graveyard. He wandered in as a toddler after his entire family is murdered by a mysterious man named Jack. He is raised by a man called Silas who is vampire and the ghosts of the graveyard. This tale contains all the elements of a gothic novel – supernatural events, the theme of belonging, a gothic setting and other gothic stuff. This book places value on love, friendship, family and uniquely, independence.

Growing up is a key theme in this kids book. But underneath the surface themes and values is a much deeper moral, as with every kids book. So, Nobody, or Bod, lives in the graveyard where majority of the book is set. He wanders in as a toddler after a man called Jack, from the society called ‘The Jacks of All Trades’, kills his entire family. His mother arrives in the graveyard as a ghost, just as she is fading away, and begs the ghosts of the graveyard to protect her child.

Silas, the vampire, becomes his ‘physical’ not living guardian, as he is a vampire, a two ghosts who never had a child, take Bod in. Bod is given the Freedom of the Graveyard. This means he has supernatural talents that only ghosts have, and he can travel where only supernatural beings can. These abilities lead him on adventures into the supernatural world, into Ghoul Graves, a mysterious tomb containing an entity known as the Sleer, the dreams and nightmares of a boy who bullies him, and the outside world of living, where he is forbidden to go. It is mentioned throughout the book by characters that Bod is not allowed to go out into the world of the living, that it is dangerous out there. In Bod’s case, this is because Jack is trying to kill him. But this is true in any case. We are much safer, dead in a graveyard, than we are alive.

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