The Graveyard Book
by Neil Gaiman
The Graveyard as A Library
Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory
We’re going to make what might sound like a bizarre suggestion: the graveyard, in addition to being a graveyard, is also meant to represent a library. No, really.
See, author Neil Gaiman says that he got the idea for The Graveyard Book from his experience of practically living in the library when he was a kid, transported to other worlds through books of all sorts. We might think of the graveyard as Bod’s own library, and of each grave as a book, which leads to something new and exciting.
When Bod first shows curiosity about the people buried in the various graves, Silas begins to teach him to read. Silas does use a few books, but mostly the gravestones are Bod’s books. He uses them to learn to read. Also, think of when Bod goes to Hell in Chapter 3 with the ghouls – how does he get to this fantasyland? By going through a grave that also happens to be a ghoul gate.
What kinds of thing does Bod learn or experience from the other graves? If each grave was a type of book, what sort of book would it be? Think about Caius Pompeius, Letitia Borrows, Mr. Pennyworth, Liza Hempstock, and the tomb of the Sleer, in particular.