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Brittany Maniglia

on 21 October 2014

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Transcript of Grendel

Chapter 1: Aries, the Ram
Chapter 2: Taurus, the Bull
Chapter 3: Gemini, the Twins
Chapter 4: Cancer, the crab
Chapter 5: Leo, the Lion
Group Work
What does Grendel's relationship with nature reveal about his own personality?

the ram
the sky
the grass
the doe
the baby bird
the owls
the wolves
What do these quotes reveal about Grendel's self-image and ow it developed?
"I shake my hairy fists at the sky and I let out a howl so unspeakable that the water at my feet turns sudden ice and even I myself am left uneasy." (5)
"(I am neither proud nor ashamed, understand. One more dull victim, leering at seasons that never were meant to be observed._ 'Ah, sad one, poor old freak!' I cry, and hug myself, and laugh, letting out salt tears, he he! till I fall down gasping and sobbing. (It's mostly fake)." (6)
"Disfigured son of lunatics." (7)

"... holding conversation with the only friend and comfort this world affords, my shadow." (8)

"I feel my anger coming back, buildng up like invisible fire, and at last, when my soul can no longer resist, I go up - as mechanical as anything else - fists clenched against my lack of will, my belly growling, mindless as wind, for blood." (9)
in your group... find 3 more quotes Grendel uses to describe himself.
Journal #4

From Grendel's point of view, what is man?

at least one paragraph
traits of the astrological sign
Group Work
Find 3-4 direct examples of your assigned "pillar" of existentialism throughout chapters 1 and 2.

1. Existence before essence
2. Reason is impotent
3. Alienation
4. Fear and trembling anxiety
5. The encounter with nothingness
6. Freedom
"She loved me, in some mysterious sense I understood without her speaking it. I was her creation. We were one thing, like the wall and the rock growing out from it. -Or so I ardently, desperately affirmed ... I was intensely aware of where I sat, the volume of darkness I displaced, the shiny-smooth span of packed dirt between us, and the shocking separateness from me in my mama's eyes. I would feel, all at once, alone and ugly, almost - as if I'd dirtied myself - obscene." (17)
"Bulls do such things, though they don't even know that the calves they defend are theirs." (20)

"He's struck too low, and even in my terror I understood that he would always strike too low: he fought by instinct, blind mechanism ages old." (21)
"I understood that the world was nothing: a mechanical chaos of casual, brute enmity on which we stupidly pose our hopes and fears. I understood that, finally and absolutely, I alone exist. All the rest, I saw, is merely what pushes me, or what I push against, blindly - as blindly as all tat is not myself pushes back. I create the whole universe, blink by blink. - An ugly god pitifully dying in a tree!" (22)
"I was suddenly her focus of the general meaninglessness - not for myself, not for any quality of my large, shaggy body or my sly, unnatural mind. I was, in her eyes, some meaning I myself could never know and might not care to know: an alien, the rock broken free from the wall. I slept again." (23)
"That night I saw men for the first time." (23)

"... I found I understood them: it was my own language, but spoken in a strange way, as if the sounds were made by brittle sticks, dried spindles, flaking bits of shale." (23)

"Some of them had shiny domes ... with horns coming out like the bull's. They were small, these creatures, with dead-looking eyes and grey-white faces, and yet in some ways they were like us, except ridiculous and, at the same time, mysteriously irritating, like rates." (24)
"'Surround him!' they yelled, 'Save the horses!' - and suddenly I knew I was dealing with dull mechanical bull but with thinking creatures, pattern makers, the most dangerous things I'd ever me." (27)
"I tried to tell her all that happened, all that I'd come to understand: the meaningless objectness of the world, the universe bruteness." (28)

"But I talked on, trying to smash through the walls of her unconsciousness. 'The world resists me and I resist the world.' I said. 'That's all there is. The mountains are what I define them as.' Ah, monstrous stupidity of childhood, unreasonable hope!" (28)

"The fire in my mother's eyes brightens and she reaches out as if some current is tearing us apart. 'The world is a pointless accident.' I say. shouting now, my fists clenched. 'I exist, nothing else.'" (28)
Group Work
Move one down from the "pillar" that you worked on yesterday (ex. If my group had alienation, we are now looking for fear). Find 3 direct examples of your "pillar" in chapter 3.

1. Existence before essence
2. Reason is impotent
3. Alienation
4. Fear and trembling anxiety
5. The encounter with nothingness
6. Freedom
"In time I began to be more amused than revolted by what they threatened. 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." (32)
What is the significance of the Shaper? Why is Grendel so impressed and affected by him?

Pages 42- 45
Group Work
Look up your assigned astrological sign. Write down the traits of that sign and find examples of the traits throughout the chapter.

Why do you think John Gardner included this element in the novel? What does it add?
Discussion Questions
1. How can mor(t)ality be the creation of the Shaper?
2. Why does Hrothgar build Heorot, the Hall of the Hart?
3. What is the power of the "projected possible"?
4. How does the story of Cain and Abel affect Grendel?
5. What is Grendel's "conversion"?
6. What is the "presence" Grendel feels in the darkness?
Chapter 6: Virgo, the Harvest Virgin
Chapter 7: Libra, the Balance
Chapter 8: Scorpio, the Scorpion
Chapter 9: Sagittarius, the Hunter
Chapter 10: Capricorn, the Goat
Chapter 11: Aquarius, the Water-Bearer
Chapter 12: Pisces, the Fish
Explain the following statements made by the dragon:
a. "Knowledge is not cause."

b. "Connectedness is the essence of everything."

c. "The essence of life is to be found in the frustrations of established order."

d. "Novel order (is) a primary requisite for important experience."

e. "Importance is derived from the immanence of infinitude in the infinite."

f. "Expression is founded on the finite occasion. It is the activity of infinitude impressing itself on its environment."
Journal #5
In his attempt to explain the difference between Importance and Expression to Grendel, the dragon uses the examples of the difference between vegetables and animals and the difference between an angry man and a rock. Explain (in 4-5 sentences).
Discussion Questions
1. How is the dragon's charm a curse?
2. How does Grendel now react to the Shaper's song?
3. How is Grendel "transformed" by his first raid on Heorot? In what sense does he "become" himself?
4. According to Unferth, what is heroism? What is poetry?
5. Why doesn't Grendel kill Unferth? And why is Unferth so bitter?
6. Who or what is the dragon?
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Leo, the Lion
Virgo, the Harvest Virgin
Libra, the Balance
Scorpio, the Scorpion
In your group you need to look up the traits (both positive and negative) of your assigned astrological sign. Then, you need to find an example of each trait in the chapter.

What is significant about the way that John Gardner weaves the traits throughout the chapters?
Discussion Questions
1. What is Grendel's Law? What does it mean?
2. How is Wealthow like the Shaper's songs? How is she different?
3. Why doesn't Grendel rape, torture, and murder Wealtheow? Or does he?
4. What does Grendel mean by "balance is everything"?
5. What is "meaning as quality"?
6. What is the parallel between Wealtheow and Grendel's mother?
7. What has happened to Unferth? How does the Queen affect him?
1. What threats surround Hrothgar after Hrothulf's arrival? How is Hrothulf like a scorpion?
2. What is Grendel's Theorum? What does it mean?
3. How can violence be creative? What do Grendel and Red Horse have to say about violence and "legitimate force"?
4. Describe Red Horse's political ideology.
5. What is the meaning of the "horrible dream which Grendel imputes to Hrothgar"?
6. How can the old king Hrothgar be a giant? In what ways is he like Job?
1. What ironies occur in this section?
2. How can Time be inside the hunter and the hart?
3. What is Grendel's opinion of religion?
4. What is the significance of Grendel's encounter with Ork? What does Ork have to say about the King of the Gods and about the nature of Evil?
5. Why is Grendel so disgusted by the speeches of the Fourth Priest?
1. Explain the saying "Tedium is the worst pain."
2. Why is Grendel so frightened and so infuriated by the goat?
3. How does the Shaper's death affect Grendel?
4. What is "the pastness of the past"?
5. How has Grendel's mother changed? What is their relationship now?
6. Who is the other monster Grendel meets on the moors?
7. Explain "Nihil ex nihilo, I always say."
Full transcript