Death in Supernatural

Critical Essays


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About the Book

Over 14 seasons, television’s Supernatural has developed a devoted following of both fans and scholars. The show has addressed big issues, including perhaps the biggest—death. This collection of new essays examines how death is represented and personified in the series, and how grief is processed in American society. Contributors discuss the show’s explorations of the ultimate mystery, with topics covering American traditions and attitudes, folklore and mythology, resurrection, and grief and grieving.

About the Author(s)

Amanda Taylor works at California State University, Sam Bernardino. Her research interests include zombies, Firefly, Futurama, Keats, science fiction, cultural studies of science, and posthuman theory.

Susan Nylander (as Susan Landers) spent 35 years in broadcast radio as an air talent and music director. She is now a full-time professor of English composition and literature at Barstow Community College in California.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Amanda Taylor and Susan Nylander

Foreword by Julian Richings
Afterword by Lynn S. Zubernis
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 249
Bibliographic Info: appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2019
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6861-1
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3585-9
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments v
Foreword (Julian Richings aka Death) 1
“Oh, Hello, Death!” An Introduction (Susan Nylander and Amanda Taylor) 5

American Traditions and Attitudes
Death, American Style: Americana and a Cultural History of Death (Susan Nylander) 17
Got Salt? Human Remains and Haunting in Supernatural (Rebecca Stone Gordon) 35
A Familiar Soundscape: Existentialism, Winchester Exceptionalism and the Evolution of Death in Supernatural (Sarah Elaine Neill) 51

Folklore and Mythology
Blood, Death and “Demonic ­Germ Warfare”: Family and the Legend of Roanoke in Supernatural (Rebecca M. Lush) 70
Wheelin’ and Dealin’: Crossroads Mythology, ­Deal-Making and Death in Supernatural (Racheal Harris) 87

Death, Resurrection and the Monstrous Evolution of the Winchesters (Jessica George) 104
“When I come back, I’m gonna be pissed”: Signaling Narrative and Character Shifts Through Death in Supernatural (Erin M. Giannini) 122
When Women Die “The (Dead) Girl with the Dungeons and Dragons Tattoo”: Supernatural and the Disposable Other (Anastasia Salter) 140
“I prefer ladies with more experience”: Virgins, Whores and ­Post-Feminine Death in Supernatural (Freddie Harris Ramsby) 156

Grief and Grieving
Dean’s Groundhog Day: Negotiating the Inevitability of Death via Supernatural (Michail-Chrysovalantis Markodimitrakis) 178
“In My Time of Dying”: Lessons on Grief in Supernatural (Amanda Taylor) 193
“That’s It? A Kansas Song?” A Conclusion (?) (Amanda Taylor and Susan Nylander) 213

Afterword (Lynn S. Zubernis) 215
Appendix 1: Cast of Characters 219
Appendix 2: Episode List 222
About the Contributors 237
Index 241