Isolationism In John Gardeners's Grendel

1058 Words 5 Pages
In Grendel; literary techniques help Gardener to establish the idea of an already corrupt mind, collapsing around the edges. As the novel progresses the energy created intensifies and allures the audience. In John Gardeners Grendel; kennings, existentialism and metaphor are used to highlight Grendle’s isolation and clearly establish a central idea that isolating one’s self leads to self-destruction.
Notably, signs of isolationism in Grendel are evident from the very beginning with kennings to demonstrate Grendle’s emotions throughout the novel. The first evident sign of isolation established through kennings is found on in chapter 1; it reads “such are tiresome memories of a shadow-shooter, earth-rim-roamer, walker of the world’s weird wall”
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Existentialism is defined as a philosophical concept that emphasizes the existence of the individual as a free and responsible being determining their own destiny, and throughout the novel this is a ubiquitous factor in Grendle’s development. The first sight of this literary device is in chapter 1, involving Grendle’s spat with the ram, it read “Why can’t these creatures discover a little dignity?” I ask the sky. The sky says nothing, predictably. I make a face, uplift a defiant middle finger, …show more content…
The sky ignores me, forever unimpressed. Him too, I hate, the same as I hate the budding trees and brattling birds” (6). The common theme stems of existentialism are disorientation, isolation, hopelessness, despair, anxiety, indifferent universe, pain and meaningless. The aspects of existentialism tied to the quotation referenced are isolation and meaninglessness. Emotions clash as Grendel feels he is being “ignored” by the sky, which expresses his feeling of meaningless do to his ignorance. This meaninglessness he feels causes him to isolate himself not only from nature but his mother and eventually the villagers. But the biggest example of existentialism in chapter two defines just how lost Grendel is. Grendel endures a night of constant harassment, and he comes to the conclusion that he’s all that matters. The quotation states “the world resists me and I resist the world,” I said. “That’s all there is. The mountains are what I define them as” (28). At this point in the novel is when Grendel feels he is his only source of character and the world cannot define who he becomes, which if you think about it this is really the stem of Grendle’s isolationism. Through his philosophy on life Grendel has boxed himself off from the world and points the blame at everyone but himself. This only worsens his ideals on life and adds to the destruction within. Thinking he shapes his destiny gives him the idea that he is an emperor on his throne and when

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