Develop one of the following topics into a clearly organized expository essay. Your paper will contain a minimum of 3 quotes. Essay form is the standard 5-paragraph length (Due to its short length, everything must be concise and straight to the point). The essay will be 2-3 pages in length. In addition, you will be incorporating the rhetorical devices covered in our discussion on argumentation.
1. Explore the significance of language in the novel. Explain the progression in form of those who are mute, to those who master language, to those who use language to shape their world. What is revealed about the individuals involved and the generative power of the spoken word?
2. How does the novel answer the question, “How should one live?” Provide insights based upon the successes, failures, strivings and epiphanies that the characters present to us. Use characters such as Unferth, the Dragon, Wealtheow and the Shaper to support your views. What is important to these individuals? What do they believe is the meaning (or meaninglessness) of life?
3. What is the message that the novel posits regarding the power of imagination? Look to such characters as the Shaper, the old Priest and Grendel himself to support your insights. How do characters change their world through faith or art?
4. Examine the struggle between good and evil in the novel. What is the goodness in ostensibly evil characters such as the Dragon and Grendel? What keeps them from fully exploring their potential for good? What exactly makes characters monstrous? Consider both physical and psychological elements in this examination. What is “good” in Grendel’s eyes? Of what does this goodness consist?
5. Discuss the meaning of heroism in Grendel. What does it mean to be a hero? Could it be that Unferth, the brother slayer and trash talker, is the most honorable character in Gardner’s novel? Have you considered that a woman might be heroic? Consider Wealtheow.