Grendel's Motifs

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March 8, 2012
John Gardner
123 Park Avenue
New York, New York 10021

Dear Mr Gardner,For thousands upon thousands of years, humans have organized themselves into a societal structure. Mr. Gardner, After reading your novel, Grendel, I now understand what purpose this serves. A structured method of life with institutions and support systems guides humans and gives meaning to their lives. You say in your last line to Susie West and her students, “Remember that art is a balancing of opposing points of view, an attempt to zero in on truth without cheating on the argument.” There is no doubt in my mind that this is present in your novel. The perspective of the human race in your novel is one of structure, and adherence to an institution, which is their religion. This point of view shows how society creates meaning in lives. The perspective of the monster Grendel in your story is the complete opposite. Grendel is a monster that is isolated from the rest of the world. He lacks a system of genuine support, and creates nihilistic views because he lacks the structure which society provides. These perspectives aid in creating the ultimate insight: a structured lifestyle guides humans to live fruitful lives, and isolation creates a carelessness concerning one’s life. Mr Gardner, your novel has countless examples of philosophy and perspective, and these perspectives allow me to learn more about the world around me.The humans in Grendel create meaning in their lives through the creation of complex societal institutions. They transition from small nomadic bands to complex civilizations with bureaucratic tendencies and politics. This offers a reason for their existence. Hrothgar becomes a formidable political power. This shows a creation of civilization and society, and subsequently, a reason for the humans to live. This is exemplified on page 42, when the Shaper speaks about the Dane’s(Hrothgar’s people) rise to prominence and power. The Shaper says, “ He grew up under the...
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