Essay: Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman

One major motif that takes place in the novel, Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman is ‘Facing one’s Twin or Double.’ It all begins when Charles ‘Fat Charlie’ Nancy visits Florida for his father’s funeral. While there a friend of his father’s, Mrs. Higgler, tells Fat Charlie he has a brother and also how to contact him. Of course, Fat Charlie thought she was just a crazy old woman until one drunken night, he says to a spider, ‘If you see my brother, tell him he ought to come by and say hello (p.50),’ and what do you know? His brother shows up. He informs his brother, Spider, about the death of their father, the god, Anansi, and they mourn his death with a night of ‘Wine, Women, and Song.’ Later, however, thing start to go downhill as Spider makes Fat Charlie’s life increasingly more difficult to the point where he seeks help in making his brother go away. To do this, he makes a deal with the Bird Woman, ‘I give you Anansi’s bloodline (p.153).’ What he did not realize at the time however is that he was part of Anansi’s bloodline, not just Spider. She captures and begins killing Spider, ‘She reach0ed into his mouth with her sharp talons, and with one wrenching movement tore out his tongue (p. 256,’ which was more than Fat Charlie really wanted. During his quest to find Spider, a plot twist happens when Fat Charlie finds out that Spider is not actually his brother, but a part of him, separated by magic when he was a young boy. Fat Charlie eventually does find his brother during the resolution of the novel and the ‘bad guys’ are defeated and there’s a nice ‘Happily Ever After’ in the ending which shows both men grown up with families of their own. Fat Charlie Nancy faces quite a few ups and downs upon learning of his brother, Spider but most importantly, they were able to overcome all obstacles in this amazing novel which is a true tale of brotherhood or should I say, ‘partahood.’

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