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Lecture 6

John Gardner's Grendel - Lecture 6.docx

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EN 1002
Judith Deitch

John Gardners Grendel PointofView in the PostModern NovelKey WordsPostmodernismPoint of viewCharacterLiteracyOralityExistentialismNihilismRealityMeaningFreedomMetafictionNarrativePlotStoryEpistemologyNarrator PointofView in GrendelI narrator is also a characteroNarrative sets up an automatic identification with IspeakerGrendel is an antiherooAntagonist of epic becomes protagonist of novelWe get every other character from Grendels perspectiveoHrothgar the Shaper Unferth his mother dragon etcoGardner is an excellent closereader of Beowulf intertextual fun in seeing how the reverses the telescopePostmodern author playing games with the readers sympathyoGrendel is a murdering psychopath who devours human flesh violent insane irrational delusionaloSome kind of in between creature neither human nor animaloBut we are inside his head we are subjected to his thoughts emotions feelings desires motivations memory reflections impressionsoHe has been turned into a character in a novel there are many ways Gardner never lets us forget thisUse of metafiction intertextual references to BeowulfCharacters from Beowulf are woven into GrendelSelfconsciousness about constructed nature of language literature storiesartPoint of view is foregroundedDo not assume Grendel represents Gardners viewWe get Grendel from Grendels perspectiveoInterioritywe are inside his mind representation of consciousnessoHe relates himself with sympathy selfpity justificationoHe is learning developing like Catherine in NA
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