* Chapter 1:
What is the significance of the scene wherein Grendel challenges the “dark chasms?”
Grendel has come face to face with the inner darkness of evil, death, and the lack of meaning of life.
Describe Grendel’s mother and his relationship with her?
Grendel mostly feels pity or compassion towards his mother but covers it up with anger. He has trouble understanding her because she is more animal than human. In spite of that, Grendel sees her as his protector. When he was being tortured at the Oak tree he called out for her mother and she arrived or when he was wounded by Beowulf he cried out for his mother and died in her arms.
From Grendel’s point of view, what is man? From Grendel’s point of view he thinks men are hopeful, proud and low level creatures who don’t have the same abilities as him.
* Chapter 2:
In a flashback to his early childhood, what is Grendel’s relationship with the “large old shapes” and with his mother?
Grendel’s relationship with the large old objects is non-existent. The shapes didn’t recognize his existent, they just see right through him. Unlike the shapes, his mother recognize his presence and see’s all of him both inside and out. They seem to have an unbreakable bond but Grendel still feels unsure with his own mother.
What is the significance of the scene wherein Grendel catches his foot in the crack in the
treetrunks and is attacked by a bull? When Grendel got his foot stuck in the cracks of the tree trunks he realized the real definition of life. He started to view the world around him differently. He realized that humans were the most dangerous creatures he had ever encountered.
How does Grendel’s first meeting with men affect him? Why does he fear them more than he fears bulls? Grendel fears humans more than bulls because humans are more intelligent. It affect Grendel because now he has to be more cautious.
* Chapter 3:
Why is Grendel so impressed and affected by the Shaper? Why does he fear the Shaper? The shaper impressed Grendel because the song made him viewed life differently. The song brought meaning to his meaningless life. The shaper scared him because he could possibly have the power to change everyone’s belief and minds.
According to Grendel, what is the truth about poetry? Grendel’s thinks that poetry lies.
Why does Grendel scream “Lost!” and crawl on all fours as the chapter ends? He yells “lost” because he knows nothing and everything has changed and he can’t seem to gather himself to what is going on in the present.
* Chapter 4:
Why does Hrothgar build Heorot, the Hall of the Hart?
Hrothgar was inspired by the shaper’s song. The hall would be a symbol of the eternal justice of Danes, Hrothgar wants the hall to be the holder and dispenser of great treasures. He wants everyone to know about it.
How does the story of Cain and Abel affect Grendel? Grendel is cursed by it, he is a punishment from God. He is a savage that only wants to fight humans.
What is Grendel’s “conversion?” Grendel accepts the words of vision of the shaper.
* Chapter 5:
How does the dragon’s mind differ from Grendel’s and from men’s? The dragon has special capabilities. He’s able to see the past, present and future.
From the dragon’s point of view, what is man? What is man’s mind? The dragon has a different opinion towards men. He thinks humans are selfish, hard headed and unreasonable.
How does the dragon explain the role of the Shaper? The role of the shaper is to provide an illusion of reality. He puts together all the facts and spin them together playing the harp so people will believe it.
* Chapter 6:
How is the dragon’s charm a curse?
It makes Grendel solitary and alone.
According to Unferth, what is heroism?
What is poetry? Heroism to him means to see values beyond what is possible. Poetry to Unferth means comfort to the hopeless.
Why doesn’t Grendel kill Unferth? And why is Unferth so bitter? Unferth hates seeing grendel’s depressed because he’s never the one to die.
* Chapter 7:
What is Grendel’s law? What does it mean? Balance is everything and it means that everything in moderation.
How is Wealtheow like the Shaper’s songs? How is she different? She gives her life for the ones she loves but at the same time she is still a human.
Why doesn’t Grendel rape, torture, and murder Wealtheow? Or does he? He convinces himself out of his attraction to her.
* Chapter 8:
What threats surround Hrothgar after Hrothulf’s arrival? How is Hrothulf like a scorpion? Too man heir, rivalry. He is compared to a Scorpio because hes a poisonous loner.
What is Grendel’s Theorum? What does it mean? Any action of the human heart must trigger an equal and opposite reaction.
How can violence be creative? What do Grendel and Red Horse have to say about violence and “legitimate force?” “Laws rule the land. Men’s violance is chained to good. Legitimate force that chops the bread theifs neck and wipes its ax-death by book.” The government can use violence to punish people for doing the exact same violent actions, which makes it legitimate.
* Chapter 9:
How can Time be inside the hunter and the hart? Because it’s a trap inside an hourglass
What is Grendel’s opinion of religion? Grendel thinks religion is meaningless.
Why is Grendel so disgusted by the speeches of the Fourth Priest? Grendel is disgusted by the priests because they symbolize all that man is.
* Chapter 10:
Why is Grendel so frightened and so infuriated by the goat? Grendel was really amused but scared of his stupidity.
How does the Shaper’s death affect Grendel? The shaper gave Grendel a sense of history, true and untrue, that he did not have. History for Grendel no longer had meaning after the shaper died.
Who is the other monster Grendel meets on the moors? The dragon.
* Chapter 11:
What has Grendel come to understand about the “dark realities” of self and the world? He realizes that everyone must die in time 157 and that he was born to live and die evil.
What does Grendel mean when he says he has seen “the vision of the dragon?” Beowulf is going to kill Grendel.
Explain the saying “Things fade; alternatives exclude”. Nothing is important because everything becomes the past but other forces are important because it can change the future.
* Chapter 12:
How and why is Grendel defeated? He has his arm ripped off and he’s tricked by beowulf.
How do illusion and words help cause Grendel’s death? Grendel gets distracted by the words of the dragon.
Explain Grendel’s last words: “Poor Grendel’s had an accident. . so may you all. Presumptions kill.”
* General Questions:
In what ways does the story Grendel differ from Beowulf? In the book, Grendel portrays as a lonely, serious creature who fears that his life has no meaning. Grendel has a complex relationship with humans who hate and fear him. He is cursed with a life of solitude.
In what ways do Grendel and Beowulf complement each other? Grendel and Beowulf both value family and also both fight by themselves.
* Part Two Of Summer Reading
Question to prompt number three:
Because Grendel is so akin to men, but at the same time distant enough to be an alien, his point of view provides an opportunity for us to see more clearly what it means to live as homo sapiens.
* Essay: Looking at life as an outsider and feeling as though one is being treated as an outsider is a matter of perspective or point of view. Someone who always feels like an outsider may conclude that life is unfair. In the novel Grendel, he was considered the odd one because of the way he looked or the way he grew up. The experiences that Grendel experienced as a young child will let you understand why he does the things that he does. Gardner wrote Grendel in his point of view to let readers realize that evil is the result of ignorance towards other people. For example, Grendel was a descendant of The Cain which means that he was punished from God, so he was born to be evil it was in his genes. With that being said, people jump straight to conclusions and conclude that Grendel is a monster. Grendel is similar to men but he distance himself away from society. In Grendel, John Gardner describes the nurture aspect, while the novel of Beowulf reveals the nature aspect. An example of nurture is that Grendel lacked the guidance of his mother and that led him to become a confused individual. Considering the fact that Grendel has monstrous features, he’s human after all and craves the same attention, love, and acceptance that we all do but was unable to have it. By not having these desires he became angry at the world and that’s when he went on a killing spree. Killing gave him fulfillment and that’s why he killed everyone in The Danes for twelve years. Since Grendel grew up away from society and had no moral guidance he does not realize that killing is unacceptable, in his eyes it’s considered normal. Both novels explain why and how Grendel is view as a monster. In Beowulf it focuses on the ideas of Christianity and the existence of evil while, Grendel by Gardner is based on discrimination towards Grendel. Due to Grendel’s conflicted behavior to fit in, he struggled to act like a monster or a human. Also Grendel was big in size and had super strength but he was not brave because he would only attack at night when all men were asleep, which made him seem like a coward. People are so quick to judge others by there differences but don’t realize that their actions are changing the person mentally and they don’t realize that they start viewing the world as an unjust and cruel place. In Grendel’s eyes he was being bullied by society so he wanted to get revenge and started killing everyone that came to sight to satisfied his loneliness.