I am nobody: Fantasy and Identity in Neil Gaiman’s The graveyard book

Research output: Contribution to conferencePapers


With the popularity of fantasy literature in recent years, more and more adolescent literature writers shift their attention to depicting the macabre and the bizarre. While authors of fantasy literature endeavor to show that something which is unreal, strange, whimsical, or magical nevertheless has an internal logic and consistency, certain stereotypes typical of the realistic world are destabilized simultaneously. In the imaginary world in which the events, the settings, or the characters are outside the realm of possibility, many ideas like love, truth, reality, and identity are constantly destabilized and contested. For example, in Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book (2008), which renders him awarded the Carnegie Medal, the Newbery Medal, and the Hugo Award for Best Novel in the following years, the problem of personal identity is apparent in Nobody Owens, an orphan whose parents are killed by a killer called “Jack” and whose survival depends on the mercy of the ghosts living in the graveyard. This paper aims to discuss how the protagonist in The Graveyard Book grapples with his bewilderment when confronted with the myth of his identity and how the elements of fantasy are entangled to the benefit of untangling this coming-of-age mythology.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2013


Chang, T.-c. H. (2013, November). I am nobody: Fantasy and identity in Neil Gaiman’s The graveyard book. Paper presented at the 21st Annual English and American Literature Association Conference, Taiwan.


  • Fantasy
  • Identity
  • Neil Gaiman
  • Graveyard book


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