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Essay/Term paper: Grendel

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Cliff Notes

Free essays available online are good but they will not follow the guidelines of your particular writing assignment. If you need a custom term paper on Cliff Notes: Grendel, you can hire a professional writer here to write you a high quality authentic essay. While free essays can be traced by Turnitin (plagiarism detection program), our custom written essays will pass any plagiarism test. Our writing service will save you time and grade.

Authors often have to choose between concentrating on

either plot or social commentary when writing their novels; in

John Gardener's Grendel, any notion of a plot is forgone in

order for him to share his thoughts about late sixties-early

seventies America and the world's institutions as a whole.

While Grendel's exploits are nearly indecipherable and yawn

inducing, they do provide the reader with the strong opinions

the author carries. This existentialistic novel can be seen

clearly as a narrative supporting nihilism in its many forms.

Most easily, the reader will be able to see the blatant

religious subtext in the guise of corrupt priests and the foolish

faithful. There is also some negativity placed on the notion of

the old being the wise. Gardener deems hero idolization

unacceptable as well; knowledge that the Vietnam War was

prevalent at the time gives additional insight into his

complaints. Religion plays a large role in Grendel. Priests do

not want to perform their services without the proper

payment which, in turn, causes the rich to be able to become

the most 'religious.' The citizens of the village are also

confusingly poly- and monotheistic. When praying to their

king god does not decrease the frequency of Grendel's visits,

they retreat to begging any god of which they have known

for help. This reveals their faith to be not faith at all but rather

faith that will remain faith as long as it can be proven. A

proven religious faith is contradictory term, for it can only be

placed in a religion that cannot be proven lest it is true faith

no longer. Grendel's interludes with the dragon portray, at

their onsets, the dragon as a worldly, wise creature with

much to share. The dragon haughtily informs Grendel about

his vast store of knowledge as he teases him with how much

he knows. As Grendel's interests are piqued, the dragon

expends the cumulative result of his travails: "Know how

much you've got, and beware of strangers…My advice to

you, my violent friend, is to seek out gold and sit on it."

Although the dragon serves as a vessel to point out the

necessity of Grendel and makes some pointed observations

about mankind, all his respectability is lost with those two

short sentences. The author is making an observation about

materialism and the falsehood of wisdom always

accompanying age. After all his years of intense scrutiny, the

dragon can only grasp from human- and animalkind alike

that possessions are the key to life's existence. Nature

against society is also discussed in Grendel. The fact that

citizens surrounded with religion and social status could be

so easily overtaken by nature (Grendel) gives a sense of

irony to the reader. Nature is the only virtuous and pure

institution left available to the world and yet capable of such

cold-blooded viciousness (again, Grendel). People can build

up whatever walls they may to block the righteousness that is

nature but will always be unsuccessful. Nature has no

religion, no political power struggles, and no inherent

corruption and will always be superior to man in all respects.

The author is successful at dissembling the institutions that

have been repeatedly dissembled for centuries: society and

religion. The corrupt natures of religion and power have

been the theses for countless books before and will remain

for countless books after. While he doesn't add much to the

literary forum with these ideas, he expresses them in a

creative way, through the eyes of one 'innocent' to human

wiles. His thoughts are neither original nor innovative, but his

success in including them all in a single story is a formidable

achievement  

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