Grendel's Astrology

1447 Words Mar 14th, 2013 6 Pages
Grendel’s Astrology

John Gardner uses symbolism, imagery, and character placement to weave astrology into the very fabric of his novel, Grendel. Each of the twelve chapters corresponds to one of the twelve astrological signs. The author purposely did this and hints to it on page nine with the quote, “cold mechanics of the stars” (Gardner 9). The stars are the guide to the world and all the characters in it in this novel. In astrology, Aries is considered a new beginning and, in turn, begins John Gardner’s novel (Heindel 163). This chapter focuses on the cyclical nature of astrology. According to Grendel, this is the twelfth year of his “idiotic war” (Gardner 5). He notes that this year will, more than likely, be just like all those
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Unferth is also a symbolic Virgo character. His intentions are heroic. He truly believes in honor and dying a noble death. Chapter seven is the chapter of Libra. Libra is represented by a set of scales and is the sign of balance (Heindel 189). Right off the bat, chapter seven begins with “balance is everything (Gardner 91). Wealtheow is the primary Libra character. She is an instrument of balance between two kingdoms. Balance is again mentioned in “I hung balance, a creature of two minds; and one of them said – unreasonable, stubborn as the mountains – that she was beautiful (Gardner 110). Grendel’s feelings towards Wealtheow are balanced between repulsion and amazement. In chapter eight, we see the emergence of the “sweet scorpion”, Hrothulf. "And so - I watch in glee - they take in Hrothulf; quiet as the moon, sweet scorpion, he sits between their two and cleans his knife” (Gardner 113). This makes chapter eight the chapter of the Scorpio, symbolized by a scorpion. Scorpio is ruthless, powerful, and determined (Heindel 208). It seems that Hrothulf is similar to Scorpio because of his cunningness. He can strike at any time like a scorpion and use violence to attain power. Chapter nine introduces us to the sign of Sagittarius. Sagittarians are deep thinkers willing to adventure out into the world to find the true meaning of life. They are also enthusiastic and spontaneous. The
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