Beowulf, By John Gardner Essay example

996 Words Oct 25th, 2016 4 Pages
Grendel, written by John Gardner in 1971, is perhaps one of the most intriguing remediations of Beowulf to date. While the novel stays true to many aspects of the original poem, it also embodies several notable differences when compared to Seamus Heaney’s translation of Beowulf. The most jarring difference is the perspective the novel is told from. Gardner tells the epic tale of Beowulf through the eyes of Grendel, one of the three monsters that Beowulf battles in the original poem. Furthermore, the novel also explores Grendel’s life before meeting Beowulf, and ends when Grendel dies, whereas the original poem encompasses the battles Beowulf goes on to fight. Other notable disparities between the two texts are Grendel’s description, and according to an interview with John Gardner by Ed Christian, he used Grendel as a metaphor in his novel after fellow writer Jane Smiley suggested he do so. Grendel is a unique and eye opening remediation that compliments many of the original themes found in Beowulf, while also introducing new ideas and themes to its readers.
In contrast to the original poem, Grendel - as the title suggests - is told from the perspective of Grendel, a self-proclaimed monster. Evidence to support this claim stems from the use of words like “I” and “me” throughout the novel in moments where Grendel describes his actions, or speaks to other characters within the novel:
“She tasted of urine and spleen which made me spit. Sweet mulch for yellow blooms. Such are…

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