In Neil Gaiman’s “Sandman” graphic novel series, the physical embodiment of universal forces and concepts–known as the ‘Endless’-are shown living together tenuously as a family made up equally by men and women, with Death being one of oldest and most powerful members. More notably, Death is not depicted as a hooded skeletal figure, but as a young and perky Goth woman. The series makes heavy use of mythology and archetypes, with the author admitting his fascination with mythology and how through constant retelling and reinterpretation, meaning and symbolism have changed overtime. Moreover, the play on traditional mythological concepts in Sandman is indicative of a relationship between the masculine and feminine. For instance, Desire is shown not as a voluptuous woman or a cherub, but as an attractive hermaphrodite because as the embodiment of Desire, the character had to inclusive.
Similarly, the choice to show Death as a cheerful and down-to-earth character is an interesting one that contrasts with common Western perceptions, while sharing similarities to other religions and cultures (such as Hinduism). For my final project, it’s going to be an analytical paper that will discuss and explore how the female form is interpreted and seen through the lens of religion, mythology and fiction, and how ‘evil’ women are traditionally depicted as harlots, temptresses and witches in these texts. The audience will be probably only involve those with the attention span to sit and read through ten pages of rambling and media jargon, with the main point of the paper being to emphasize and explain how the interpretation and subsequent “framing” of an event can be just as important as the event itself, especially when it involves minority groups such as women. In any case, “Sandman” can be seen as an indication that changes in social mores are translated into action not only through interpersonal interaction, but also through the retelling of stories.
The Sandman Companion-Hy Bender
The Second Sex-Simone De Beauvoir
Where the Girls Are: Growing Up Female with the Mass Media-Susan J. Douglas