Analysis Of ' Grendel 's ' The ' Of The World 's Weird Wall '

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John Champlin Gardner, a well-known novelist that explores philosophy within his works of fiction. He is most notably known for his 1971 book Grendel which is based on the Old English epic poem: Beowulf retold from the monster’s perspective. Within the book, Grendel is repeatedly referenced to be a “walker of the world’s weird wall” and is forced into a life of isolation, with no ulterior purpose. (FLIP SLIDE—THESIS) In Grendel, John Gardner emphasises the title hero’s isolation through the use of symbolism, philosophy and biblical allusions.

Firstly I will talk about the symbolism of the text. Gardner illustrates the symbolism of eyes and caves to suggest Grendel’s isolation and indifference to
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This relates back to the theme of isolation due to how even though Grendel believes that he is significant and makes a difference on the world around him, the Dragon serves as a reminder that whatever he does makes no difference, making Grendel feel even more isolated.

His eye burst open like a hole, to hush me. I closed my mouth. The eye was terrible, lowering towards me. I felt as if I were tumbling down into it — dropping endlessly down through a soundless void (61).
On page 61, there is a mentioning of how “his eye burst open like a hole” possibly physically opening and figuratively opening new thoughts in Grendel’s head. The “tumbling down endlessly down through a soundless void” could be both a reference to Grendel’s eventual demise and how the Dragon has a philosophy of “black holes” on how nothing matters. This relates back to the theme of isolation due to how, when exposed to these extreme philosophies, he sees that it has only left him more alone then ever before. Therefore, through the symbolic meaning of eyes, Gardner instills isolation within the title hero.

Secondly, Gardner utilises allusions to the Bible to steer the audience’s attention towards the

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