The mind of the antagonist:

The+main+character+in+the+book+looking+up%2C+%0Adistraught.+
The main character in the book looking up, 
distraught.

The main character in the book looking up, distraught.

Sabrina Rollins

Sabrina Rollins

The main character in the book looking up, distraught.


Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Over the summer, one of my friends suggested that I read Grendel by John Gardner. Once I finished it, I fell in love with the misunderstood mammal.

Grendel, the main character of the book, is a ruthless grizzly bear that is intrigued with man and murder obsessed. Particularly obsessed with a village near his cave called Hrothgar, he runs off at night, away from his mother.

Throughout the novel, Grendel is constantly contemplating life and time. He often wonders why he kills, what the point of it all is, and if it will ever end.

I found it interesting that Grendel wanted to be a part of human society, that being his reasoning for watching the people of Hrothgar. Instead he filled his desire with anger rather than trying to manifest humanity, and instead destroyed it. This book is full of contradictions and I ended up reflecting over the book after each chapter. Grendel is already a walking paradox. This causes him to act in very inconsistent ways, which surprisingly related to me because I am the most contradicting person I’ve ever met. Throughout the novel, Grendel kills without any hesitation, but in certain scenes, he gave mercy.

In one particular scene, Grendel was followed by a man from the village back to his cave, and as he was ready to kill him, the man gave a monologue about how he would be a hero for sacrificing his life, and instead of killing the man, Grendel lets him live in his own misery. This scene shows that Grendel is either a killing beast or just manipulative in general.

When I first read Grendel, it was hard to get a clear picture of it because Gardner has it in a perspective of a bear, but after reading it twice, I appreciate it so much. The language can be very crude and violent, but I enjoyed it because it added to the mood and animosity of Grendel.

The book is very sadistic, in a sense, because when Grendel goes on rampages and kills entire villages, it is very graphic in detail, and should only be read by people who aren’t easily offended by gory details.

After reading Grendel, I ended up doing research about it to find the meaning and purpose. I was surprised to find out that it was, in some sense, a spinoff of Beowulf, which is the oldest surviving epic poem of English literature.

In Beowulf, Grendel is still the terrifying beast that attacks Hrothgar. Instead, it is told in the people of Hrothgar’s point of view.

When I realized that, I found out that Gardner connected Grendel with Beowulf, but in the antagonist’s point of view. I thought it was really interesting how Gardner incorporated who he thought Grendel was from an old poem by an unknown author, and made connections so clear and well understood.

In fact, both Grendel and Beowulf ended the same way, and I suggest that readers read both to get different perspectives because overall they have the same ending but the contrasting points of views derive out so many different meanings.
Though I’ve already read Grendel twice, I will likely read it again because I found myself relating to this fictitious bear, and that in itself is remarkable.

Though the book is graphic, I recommend it to anyone as it is strangely intriguing and will make readers look deeper and think harder, which is what a true book should do. Gardner proved his writing genius and I plan to read more of his work in the future.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




*

Navigate Right
Navigate Left
  • The mind of the antagonist:

    News

    Students protest exclusive dance

  • The mind of the antagonist:

    Features

    Students exchange languages, cultures, homes

  • The mind of the antagonist:

    News

    Schooled in marriage

  • The mind of the antagonist:

    Features

    One of a kind building lacks credit

  • The mind of the antagonist:

    News

    Marching no more

  • The mind of the antagonist:

    News

    Same space, new look

  • The mind of the antagonist:

    News

    Seniors gain insight from UNR Admissions

  • News

    Graduation 2015 – WATCH LIVE

  • The mind of the antagonist:

    News

    Candy for a good cause

  • The mind of the antagonist:

    Features

    The art of the promposal

The mind of the antagonist: