There is not a lot of certainty in life. There is often, however, a trust and even certainty in yourself.

Trust and certainty in the person you are, your way of living, your identity. But sometimes people are not the way they think they are.

When faced with a dramatical change of personality you risk realizing that you have an inner troll, an ugly personality.

The question is, if that inner troll is so ugly, that it will eventually leave us lonely, unless we face it.

The short story “Bridge Troll” by Neil Gaiman published in 2016 thematizes that very question, though in a more extreme and literal approach.

That being said, the most prominent themes in the short story are the “Inner troll” and “Loneliness”.

In the following essay I shall state how the short story revolves around said themes, and in doing so expounding the genre conventions and the symbolic meaning of the troll and the bridge.

The short story is about a child, Jack, who gets lost in the woods and encounters a troll under a bridge. The troll says that he wants to eat his life. Jack desperately tries to avoid this, and he says that he will come back later when he has more life experience.

Jack encounters the troll yet again at the age of 15 but for the second time avoids the situation and tells the troll that he will come back later with more life experience.

Eventually his wife leaves him, and he faces the troll at which point his life gets eaten, and he embodies the ugly troll hiding under the bridge alone.

The short story does not begin in medias res and starts the same place it ends, which makes it a circular story.

There are no flashbacks in the story, besides the fact that the entire story is a recollection and therefore sort of a flashback.

The story follows a three-act plot structure: In the beginning there is a rather long presentation of Jack as a child and the setting.

In the middle we have different moments in Jack’s life connected to the troll bridge; the first, second and third time he encounters the troll.