Mysterious and dark, this novel takes the reader on a journey between two worlds, two forces, to uncover the truth behind his family’s murder when he was an infant. Nobody Owens finds his way into a graveyard where he is raised and sheltered by ghosts of the cemetery. Danger lurks beyond the gate of the graveyard, but Bod must learn who he is and what the reason behind his family’s unfortunate end. A magical quest with terrifying encounters that will leave readers hanging on every word.
Gaiman, N. (2008). The graveyard book. NY: HarperCollins.
Evaluative Criteria: Theme and Setting
- The timeless theme of good vs. evil is predominant in this fantasy novel, although the author weaves in several others. From the beginning, we see the onset of evil, almost triumphant, but a twist of fate turns the tables. This is noted when Bod’s family is murdered, and after miraculously make it to a nearby graveyard, the spirits tied to that cemetery save him. In life and death, good prevails over evil. A sense of community and family is also apparent in the novel, ironically, by ghosts and spirits. The inhabitants of the graveyard elect to shelter Bod and keep him safe. A sense of unity is established and readers can make a connection to this because this bond is something that everyone yearns for. The textbook explains that fantasy themes are satisfying because even “after an arduous task, there is hope, victory-even when sacrifices are made.”; also apparent when Miss Lupescu is lost in a battle.
- The setting of this novel is essential in tying together the other parts of the evaluative criteria. The graveyard is what sets the mood and tone, its features help carry the plot to its climax, and it’s home to some of the book’s important characters. There is so much vivid detail describing the graveyard, it’s eeriness, the spirits who are stuck there, and its historical features that makes it easy for readers to get lost in the words. “Time and place can be critical here, so the reader needs a clear sense of setting to visualize the story events and characters.” The diction presented in the form of spirit’s dialogue, the descriptions of their garments, and the fact that they are unaware of life currently is an indicator of just how old the graveyard setting is, and this carries over to the time aspect of the prophecy foretelling the events between Bod and the Jacks of All Trades.