Grendal by John Gardner Essay

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Grendal

Throughout the novel Grendel by John Gardner, the main character Grendel is searching for answers about life, most importantly the meaning of life. He is confused with how he wants to view life and searches for some reason to why he exists. He turned too many for these answers; his mother, man, and the dragon, but no one could provide Grendel the answer he so desperately sought, all just pushed him to the idea of existentialism.

Grendel’s first impression was to ask his mother about the meaning of life and what was his part in it. After Grendel’s first encounter with man, he immediately told his mother what had happened. “I tried to tell her all that happened, all that I had come to understand: the meaningless
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Peace!” The Harper broke off, the people screamed. Drunken men rushed me with battle-axes. I sank to my knees, crying, “Friend! Friend!” They hacked at me, yipping like dogs. I held up the body for protection.” In the end man was too afraid of Grendel to befriend him, so they tried killing him and would have succeeded if Grendel gave them the chance. So now Grendel, not getting any answers from his mother or man he is forced to go to the last source of help that can possible help him, the dragon.

The Dragon wasn’t much help to Grendel either; he just pushed Grendel further to the idea of existentialism. He said that the stories the shaper told, who Grendel grew to like and believe, where pure illusion. The shaper only knew of the past and present, and the Dragon saw that nothing would come of it in the future. The only thing the Dragon did for Grendel was show him what he meant to men. The dragon tells Grendel that he stimulates the humans and inspires their poetry and art. He is telling Grendel that he is evil and they are “good”, but they are “good” because of you. Grendel’s evil motivates the fearful people to work, to strive, to think, and to overcome their problems. “You are mankind, or man’s condition: inseparable as the mountain climber to the mountain. If you withdraw, you’ll instantly be replaced.” The dragon is saying that even if Grendel decides to change his course in life and never kill…

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