Grendel Essay

Prompt:  Write a 750-1000 word essay using one of the prompts below.  All papers must have quotes for support (at least two per paragraph).

Discussion of the prompt:  Write an analytical essay based on one of the prompts below.  Analysis requires you to break down and focus on specific aspects of the text—do not simply summarize the novel.  Pretend you are examining the novel under a microscope—you are only focusing on small components, not all details at once.

bulletWho is the real monster in the novel?  While Grendel engages in many horrific acts, he also accuses the humans of being more vicious than wolves.  Using specific examples from the novel, state who is the “greater” monster.  Focus on acts of aggression and compassion.
bulletAnalyze the different philosophies behind the monstrous acts of Grendel, the humans, and the Dragon.  Yes, Grendel eats people.  Move beyond that to the philosophy driving his personal war; don’t just state the obvious. 
bulletBeauty and the Beast:  Analyze the affect the Shaper and Wealtheow have on Grendel.  With each character, Grendel is brought to his knees by their beauty: the Shaper by his songs and Wealtheow by her physical beauty.  Examine both the positive and negative affects each has on Grendel.  What conclusions can you draw about the affect of art or beauty in the world / in our lives?
bulletAnalyze the Dragon’s speech to Grendel.  Define the Dragon’s “philosophy” and analyze how that philosophy is enacted or thwarted by Grendel’s acts.  How do you see the Dragon’s philosophy playing out in the world today?
bulletAnalyze Red Horse’s philosophy about anarchy and government.  Apply that philosophy to Hrothgar’s kingdom and Grendel’s war.  How do you see Red Horse’s philosophy playing out in the world today?
bulletAnalyze Ork’s philosophy regarding religion. Compare Ork’s philosophy to Grendel’s philosophy of religion as it is enacted throughout the novel.  Are they distinctly different or are they more similar than they appear?

Grading Criteria:  This assignment is worth 100 points.  A draft of your introduction and two body paragraphs is due Monday, September 26th.  Drafts do not have to be the neatest writing in the world, but they do need to be in ink (no pencil).  Final copies are due Friday, September 30th.  Grading will be based on organization, logical flow of ideas, format, support (quotes), and grammar.