Grendel: Choosing Grendel's or Beowulf's Side

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Choosing Sides

The last bell of the day rings, signifying that school is out. A girl, crouched in between a group of cute guys, slowly walks out of the classroom followed by a lonely girl desperately clutching at her school books to keep them from plunging to the floor. Outside as the popular girl waits for her ride home, still clasped between a sea of faces, she is slowly and unostentatiously confronted by the loner, tears streaming down her face, where she is shoved to the ground. The ruffian then runs off in a fit of panic….Not only is this scenario seen everywhere in the world, most people see it happen this way. What is it like to see this same scene from the bullies' perspective? The narrator of Beowulf and the character Grendel, in Gardner's Grendel, have totally different views of the same event. In Beowulf, the narrator tells the story in third person with Beowulf being the "good guy" and Grendel being the "bad guy" and vice versa in the story Grendel, told in first person with Grendel being the narrator. Furthermore, in most literature the author generally points out what is the "good" and what is the "bad", but after analyzing the different point of views in both Grendel and Beowulf, it is possible to see both sides of the same event. The point of view in both stories affect the description of the same event by the use of light and dark imagery, the tone of the narrators, and the possible relationships that can be developed with the characters.

The imagery sets the basic mood of the scenes taking place in the event. Light and dark imagery can be seen in both passages. In the excerpt from Beowulf the author uses a great amount of dark imagery to describe the "monster", Grendel, as "a powerful monster living down in the darkness…[a] demon, fiend…who haunted the moors." Specifically, the use of the words "monster", "darkness", and "haunted" makes Grendel seem like a creature of complete evil that is mindless and lusts for murder and blood. Also,...
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