Grendel exhibits human feelings and characteristics in many ways. Although Grendel is a monster “forced into isolation by his bestial appearance and limited imagination” (Butts) he yearns to be a part of society; he craves companionship while he is isolated. With his “ear pressed tight against the timbers [of Hart]” (43), he watches and listens to the humans and what goes on in Hart, the meadhall of King Hrothgar, to feel like he is a part of civilization. He also has feelings in relation to specific humans. Just like the citizens of Denmark, he is extremely affected by the Shaper and his songs that are “aswim in ringing phrases, magnificent, golden, all of them, incredibly, lies” (43). Grendel is profoundly “moved by the power of the Shaper’s poetry” (Butts). Queen Wealtheow shows Grendel the feminine, sweet, and kind side of life. “She had secret wells of joy that overflowed to them all” and her peaceful effect on those around her is a main cause of Grendel’s almost obsessive fascination with her and in turn, drives Grendel to feelings of rage. Grendel’s humanlike feelings show that his personality is similar to that of a human, helping those who read his story to relate to him.
Gardner adds to the humanlike char...
... middle of paper ...
...owards Grendel. Gardner’s retelling of Beowulf reinforces the universal idea that there are two, if not more, sides to every story. It is prudent to remember that what is monstrous to some may be perfectly normal to others and recognizing all viewpoints can help bring about a truth: good and evil are not always clear-cut.
Butts, Leonard. "The Monster as Artist: Grendel and Freddy's Book.” The Novels of
John Gardner: Making Life Art as a Moral Process. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1988. 86-110. Rpt. in Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism. Ed.
Thomas J. Schoenberg and Lawrence J. Trudeau. Vol. 195. Detroit: Gale, 86-110. Literature Resource Center. Gale. Tulsa City County Library. 22 Oct. 2009
Gardner, John. Grendel. New York: Vintage Books, 1971.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Spiritual Growth in Gardener's Grendel and Hesse's Siddhartha A mythical beast who finds meaning in killing and a questioning wanderer who cannot find meaning in being: both John Gardener's Grendel and Hermann Hesse's Siddhartha grow and develop spiritually, yet their authors use vastly different styles to convey these changes. John Gardner's revolutionary style is not encompassed by a single genre; instead, he mixes first-person narrative and several different literary styles to give the "Ruiner of Meadhalls" a unique voice.... [tags: comparison compare contrast essays]
1166 words (3.3 pages)
- Living life as a human being is a very difficult task for us humans to accomplish, yet we are doing so. Many works of literature have a character that portrays something on or about life. Three characters of well known novels will carry on with this function. On John Gardners, Grendel the main character Grendel is very confused of the life he is living. He is in search of his purpose in life, what he doesn’t realize at the beginning is his purpose is to be the villain. The humans in the novel are terrified of Grendel because to them he is a beast.... [tags: Epic Poems, Grendel, Anglo-Saxon]
629 words (1.8 pages)
- The Metamorphosis of Grendel The majority of John Gardner's Grendel revolves around a monster-like character named Grendel. The reader is allowed access to Grendel's subconscious and inner monologue, giving one the sense of a very close relationship with the main character. This tends to beguile one into sympathizing with him and thinking of him as a protagonist because historically in literature the main character of a novel has always been the "good guy." However, he proves himself to be very much the anti-hero in the novel many times over.... [tags: Grendel Essays]
1325 words (3.8 pages)
- The Meaningless Life of Grendel in John Gardner's novel, Grendel "People say that what we're all seeking is a meaning for life. I don't think that's what we're really seeking. I think that what we're seeking is an experience of being alive...." Joseph Campbell made this comment on the search for meaning common to every man's life. His statement implies that what we seem bent on finding is that higher spark for which we would all be willing to live or die; we look for some key equation through which we might tie all of the experiences of our life and feel the satisfaction of action toward a goal, rather than the emptiness which sometimes consumes the activities of our existence.... [tags: Grendel Essays]
2577 words (7.4 pages)
- Consistent in literature throughout every era and culture, archetypes represent a recurring image, pattern, or motif mirroring a typical human experience. An idea developed by Carl Jung, archetypes in literature exist as representations reflecting vital perceptions of the human psyche expressing the manner in which individuals experience the world. Using Jung’s concept, writers of all epochs embeds archetypes in structures, characters, and images of their narratives. John Gardner, in his novel Grendel, integrates several of Jung’s archetypes into his epic tale derived from the early story Beowulf.... [tags: Grendel Essays]
545 words (1.6 pages)
- Grendel and the Importance of Human Values In Grendel, by John Gardner, there is considerable disquietude, but there are also moments of pleasure as well. The cause of these contrasting feelings is most often Grendel himself. As he changes from a purposeful and almost kind creature to a very cruel monster that scorns hope, we find ourselves feeling both pleased and upset at different times. In this element, though, lies a much greater purpose than simply good literature - it helps the reader understand the importance of human values.... [tags: Grendel Essays]
755 words (2.2 pages)
- The Misunderstanding of Art in Grendel Humans have used art for centuries as a response to their environments. The use of icons, perspective, and cubism have all reflected the cultures and societies of those times. However, art has often been mistaken as a substitution or creation of reality, rather than a reflection. John Gardner has taken up this attitude in his novel Grendel. While Grendel is a provocative and innovative work, John Gardner's views on art, as reflected in Grendel, are based upon a misunderstanding of art and are therefore unfounded.... [tags: Grendel Essays]
974 words (2.8 pages)
- John Gardner's Grendel as Hero. "'I cry, and hug myself, and laugh, letting out salt tears, he he. till I fall down gasping and sobbing."1 With these words the reader is introduced to the "hero" of Gardner's Grendel, and the mood is set for the coming pages. How is one to interpret this ambiguous, melodramatic narrator, whose phrases mix seemingly heartfelt emotional outbursts with witty (if cynical) observations, and ideological musings with ironic commentaries. Perhaps this is what makes Grendel such an extremely engaging narrator.... [tags: Grendel Essays]
2002 words (5.7 pages)
- Grendel the Existentialist Monster The monster Grendel is the ironic eye through which the action is viewed and from this perspective he provides the reader with never-ending examples of buffoonery and self-parody. Often his claims reveal the Sartrean component in his makeup: "I create the whole universe, blink by blink"(Gardner 22). Gardner,of course,wants to make a point here about solipsism. There is more to the objective world than Grendel's ego. Naturally the universe still exists when Grendel closes his eyes.... [tags: Grendel Essays]
700 words (2 pages)
- John Gardner's Grendel The archeologist's eyes combine the view of the telescope and the view of the microscope. He reconstructs the very distant with the help of the very small. - Thornton Wilder These words, uttered by Thornton Wilder regarding his play Our Town express the antithesis of nihilism, a philosophy which stresses the lack of objective truth. Nihilism, as well as existentialism and a host of other philosophies are boldly explored in Grendel, a novel by John Gardner.... [tags: Grendel Essays]
843 words (2.4 pages)