Analysis Of ' Grendel ' By John Gardner Essay

1402 Words May 15th, 2015 6 Pages
A struggle to extract a purpose to life in a hostile and unsympathetic environment raises the question: Is life created, accompanied by intrinsic meaning, or is meaning shaped by what one conceives of his or herself? Grendel was tormented by his inability to discover his purpose and by the hostility of his world. In the environment, the least consciously intelligent of animals are confined and limited by their instinctually bestial obstinacy. Grendel views them as a component of his hostile environment, rather than existing life. The manipulative words of the Shaper both seductively entranced and outraged Grendel as they were a ploy based on partial truth. Although it is not openly apparent if Grendel believes he fulfilled his function in life, he reaches a state of ecstasy and extends enigmatic statements with his final breath. In John Gardner’s novel Grendel, Grendel wages a war on mankind with the existential purpose of contriving and defining his purpose in life and in the environment in which he lives. Grendel could not reasonably contrive a purpose for his existence within the world in which he lived. He was out casted by humans and animals alike, in a hostile environment. Rather than search for an intrinsic meaning for his existence, Grendel—an existentialist by definition—looked to conceiving his function in life by observing his environment and developing a niche. In “Existentialism and Politics,” Walter Kaufman determines that in existentialism, man first of all…

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