English IV: Monstrous Ink
Paper #2 assignment: Beowulf and Grendel
Length: 1000-1500 words (4-5 pages) Develop one of the following topics into a focused, well-developed essay.
Due dates: Drafts in class Friday, September 26 (#16). Incomplete drafts will lose one point per missing page. Missing drafts will earn a half-letter-grade deduction. Papers due, hard copy and turnitin, class #17 (Monday or Tuesday).
· Narrow and deep. Repeat after me: narrow and deep. That’s your mantra for this assignment.
· Write a concise opening paragraph, clearly identifying your key point in the form of a provable thesis, then develop that point in 4-6 further paragraphs. Maintain a tight focus on the central idea throughout; no extraneous comparisons or digressions.
· Offer several ESSENTIAL pieces of evidence and draw the most specific conclusions you can about their importance.
· What is Grendel’s “arc” as a character in the novel Grendel? In what important ways does he grow, change, or develop? What are some of the key human values he observes, considers, and possibly rejects? Why do these values fall short of what he wants to believe in?
· Gardner suggests that the Danes are unhappy with the arrival of the Geats. Take a close look at the passage in Beowulf describing their arrival and reception. Compare it to the arrival scene in Grendel. On what does Gardner base his interpretation?
· Look at the character of Wealtheow in both versions, especially chapter 7 of Grendel and the celebratory banquet after the slaying of Grendel’s mother in Beowulf? What are the key features of her character? Are the two portrayals consistent? Is there more to her than meets the eye?
· What does it mean to be a hero? How do the two texts differ on this point?
· What is glory? Why is it important? Is it worth believing in?
· Put the two versions of Beowulf’s argument with Unferth side by side. Then consider the most important differences. How do those differences give that scene two very different meanings?
· Contrast Grendel’s view of Beowulf to that of the Beowulf poet? What effect does
Gardner create by giving such a different view of Grendel’s killer?
There is waaaay too much information available online on some of these questions. My very strong advice to you is to do no online research whatsoever. You will only run the risk of inadvertently or deliberately plagiarizing that material. Think about your interpretation of the question and go from there.