· Loyalty—celebrates a warrior’s culture and kinship to his king and tribe.
· Bravery—Just like the heroic code –also the character Unferth(unbrave).
· Importance of art and storytelling—Much like the Bard in the Odyssey and Penelopiad. Whose story do we believe?
· Conflict between traditional heroic ideals and existentialist philosophy.
· Fate versus Free will
· The use of astrology in the novel. Each chapter of Grendel is associated with a sign of the zodiac. Connect each chapter to its associated sign
· Gemini –look for doubles
o “Food was plentiful. Every sheep and goat had its wobbly twins, the forest was teeming, and the first crops of the hillsides were coming into fruit”
· He reflects on the growth of humankind and how they developed
· He knows they are cruel
o “It didn't matter to me what they did to each other. It was slightly ominous because of its strangeness--no wolf was so vicious to other wolves--but I half believed they weren't serious.”
· He mocks war and how bloody and futile it is. They make it sound so bold and brave but it’s DUMB
· Grendel is sicked by men, war, and lies
· Poor Grendel has to watch the “Advancement” of men
· Along comes the bard, a story teller, that comes to Hrothgar’s mead hall
· The bard makes Grendel confused about his opinions and philosophy
· He goes soft a little!
o I was so filled with sorrow and tenderness I could hardly have found it in my heart to snatch a pig!
· Identity crisis
o “Thus I fled, ridiculous hairy creature torn apart by poetry--crawling, whimpering, streaming tears, across the worldlike a two-headed beast, like mixed-up lamb and kid at the tail of a baffled, indifferent ewe--and I gnashed”
· Old Testament
What Grendel is looking for:
· Who he is
· What is real
· What philosophy is right
· What to believe
Why he hates men:
· They’re dumb
· They’re selfish
· They’re violent
· They areas selfish and violent as Grendel but hate Grendel
· It’s about finding who you are and what you believe
· John Gardner explores personalities and philosophies
· Beowulf comes along and shows Grendel the reality of being a hero
· Search for identity
· Fall into knowledge
POV: allows us to feel for Grendel
Author’s impact: Shows that humans are selfish and violent