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Themes are the fundamental and often universal ideas explored in a literary work. Art as Falsehood Throughout the novel, Grendel remains painfully stranded between what he knows to be true and what he wishes were true.
From an intellectual standpoint, Grendel understands the world as a brute, mechanical place that follows no meaningful pattern or universal laws. The Shaper, for example, tells the Danes stories of their heritage so that the Danes learn to see themselves within a certain moral context.
The Shaper, in this manner, gives history meaning, cleaning up its messy ambiguities and producing explicit, rigid moral systems in its place.
This clear, knowable vision of the world comforts the Danes, who are agreeable to the idea of a world in which kings are kings, warriors are warriors, and virgins are virgins. Grendel, however, knows that the version of history the epics set forth is essentially a lie, as he has witnessed with his own eyes the truly barbaric evolution of the Danes.
Grendel finds the epic poems so stirring that he wants to be a part of them, even if it means he must be forever trapped in the role of the villain.
On a linguistic level, Grendel is also affected by the narrative he hears the Shaper reciting. Perhaps more poignant, when Grendel is chased out of Hart while attempting to join the humans, he expresses his frustration with a stream of human swearwords.
Grendel is affected not only by stories he hears, but also by stories that exist outside his own experience.
Because the events of the epic poem Beowulf predetermine the events of the novel Grendel, the earlier poem has incredible power over the world of the novel. In Grendel, the plotline of Beowulf operates like the hand of fate: Indeed, Anglo-Saxon culture viewed fate as an immensely powerful force, one that was wholly inescapable.
Grendel lives in a world in which his attempts at communication are continually frustrated. The animals that surround him are dumb and undignified.
His mother not only lacks the capacity for language, but is also dominated by emotional instinct; indeed, we sense that even if she could speak, she would likely be an unworthy conversational partner for the intelligent, inquisitive Grendel.
Grendel, then, often finds himself talking to the sky, or the air, and never hears a response. He is largely trapped in a state of one-way communication, an extended interior monologue.
Grendel and humankind share a common heritage, but this heritage keeps them forever locked in enmity as opposed to bringing them closer. Grendel is just one in a long line of literary monsters whose inner lives resemble those of humans but whose outer appearances keep them from enjoying the comforts of civilization and companionship.Mar 13, · Grendel is a horrible monster.
He greedily gobbles up warriors in the Danish mead hall guarded by Beowulf. But within Grendel lurks a soul that delights in . John Gardners Grendel provides us with an in-depth look at the personality and mindset of a monster known to be an antagonist to mankind.
The reader is seeing the world through the eyes of Grendel, giving the reader the feeling of having a very close relationship with him. Grendel By John Gardner Essays: Over , Grendel By John Gardner Essays, Grendel By John Gardner Term Papers, Grendel By John Gardner Research Paper, Book Reports.
ESSAYS, term and research . Read another novel by John C. Gardner and look for thematic similarities between it and Grendel. It has been said that Gardner used this ancient tale of Grendel to tell a very modern story about the nature of Evil and the quest for a meaningful life in the 20th century.
An Essential Theme in John Gardner's Grendel In art museums, there are ageless paintings and sculptures. On the radio, classical music and classic rock is still played. These are some of today's ways of carrying on the past through art forms.
The painter and the rock legend are artists immortalized through their works. Grendel by John Gardner is a presentation of the dark, the misunderstood, and the ugly, speaking always for itself, urging empathy for its pain, and claiming some rightful place in the shaping of whatever is real.
Or perhaps human.