Grendel Essay, Research Paper
In the novel Grendel, John Gardner?s use of the first-person point of view completely alters Grendel from the manifestation of Beelzebub into a keen quasi-human being. This transformation is shown through Grendel?s feelings toward fellow creatures and enemies. Also, the rational side of this monster is exhibited through Grendel?s own self-exploration.
Grendel displays sympathy for all creatures no matter their rank on the food chain. ?Suddenly time is a rush for the hart: his head flicks, he jerks, his front legs buckling, and he?s dead. He lies as still as the snow hurtling outward around him to the hushed world?s rim.?
?The image clings to my mind like a growth. I sense some riddle in it.?
The first part of this quote shows the feelings of sympathy Grendel has for this animal. Through Grendel?s interpretation of this incident he gives the hart dignity in its death. ?He lies as still as the snow hurtling outward around him to the hushed world?s rim.? Through this line in the novel Grendel brings peace to the hart. As in the Catholic religion these actions of Grendel can be equated to Last Rights.
In the second part of this quote, ?The image clings to my mind like a growth. I sense some riddle in it.? Grendel exhorts the irony in the hunter?s actions. To Grendel, man is in the same standing as the defenseless hart. Grendel knows that at any moment he is able to put any man in the same spot of insecurity. He mocks the humans for doing what they abhor to be done to them to other creatures.
?I listened, felt myself swept up. I knew very well that all he said was ridiculous?? Even though Grendel knew that all the Shaper sang of was horse hockey he let his emotions get the best of him. In the Anglo-Saxon interpretation of Grendel he is shown to be an unfeeling monster. The above quote is the complete opposite of their belief. Instead of being the offspring of Cain, Grendel almost becomes the same as one of the humans of that time. This is achieved through Gardner?s use of emotions. How many people are able to consider something the devil if it weeps over a song?
In the Anglo-Saxon rendition of Grendel he is an unfeeling animal. Gardner transforms him into a feeling, almost human member of society. The main difference between an animal and human is the human?s ability to rationally think and reason. In Grendel John Gardner gives Grendel the abilities of a human, which are expressed through the use of the first-person point of view. Through the exploration of Grendel?s thoughts one is incapable of referring to him as the devil.