" taught himself coin tricks "
" a grifter from Minnesota "
Minnesota is the twelfth largest state in America. It is known as the land of 12,000 lakes. The name is derived from a Dakota word for " sky-tinted water."
" ‘call no man happy,’ said Shadow,’ until he is dead.’ "
This quote is from
Herodotus is often called 'The Father of History'. An ancient Greek historian, he was the first person known to have collected his works systematically and to have tested their accuracy.
this article, Neil Gaiman talks about how reading Herodotus helped him write American Gods.
" Sam Fetisher stared at Shadow "
Fetishism is strongly associated with the practice of
Vodun, also know as voodoo, which originates from Haiti. It derives from beliefs carried across the Atlantic by West African slaves.
Fetishes were also frequently employed in
Native American religion and can be found in varying forms and degrees in most other religions.
" His mother had lived in Chicago as a girl "
Chicago comes from 'shikaakwa,' a French understanding of the Native American word for 'wild onion' or 'wild garlic.'
Potawatomi tribe lived there in the 18th Century. Previously the Miami, the Sac and Fox peoples also resided there.
Chicago is the largest city in the
Illinois state and is known by many nicknames including: 'The Windy City,' 'Chi-Town,' and the 'City of Big Shoulders.'
" the thing staring at him wore a buffalo’s head, rank and furry with huge wet eyes. Its body was a man’s body, oiled and slick. "
This description of the Buffalo Man initially sounds like the Greek monster, the
Minotaur. But the buffalo is an animal sacred to many Native American peoples, and the creature in Shadow's dream is also reminiscent of Wakan Tanka the ultimate power of the Lakota universe.
" If Hell is other people, thought Shadow, then Purgatory is airports "
'Hell is other people' comes from a French play called No Exit by Jean-Paul Sartre.
" Mister Wednesday. Although given the weather, it might as well be Thursday "
Mr Wednesday is making a divine joke.
Wednesday comes from the Middle English wednes dei, derived from the Old English Wōdnesdæg, which means the day of the English God Woden, equivalent to the Norse god Odin.
Thursday is similarly derived from Thor's Day. Thor is the Norse god of thunder, lightning and destruction among other things.