Grendel Response 3

Grendel Response 3 - Jonathan Gold Dr Mary Mar November 4...

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Jonathan Gold November 4, 2005 Dr. Mary Mar Grendel Response 3 In the final chapters of Grendel , by John Gardner, chapter 8 opens with Hrothgar’s brother, Halga, being murdered, and Halga’s fourteen-year-old son, Hrothulf, coming to live at Hart. By this time, Hrothgar and Wealtheow have two sons of their own. Hrothulf, though polite, is grim and withdrawn. In a soliloquy in the yard, Hrothulf describes the unfair socioeconomic situation he sees in the Dane community. Hrothulf wishes the laboring class could view the aristocrats critically and see that the thanes’ riches depend on the peasants’ labor. In a soliloquy following, Wealtheow stands above the sleeping Hrothulf and marvels that such sadness can exist in one so young. Wealtheow knows that Hrothulf, though he shows kindness to her sons now, will come to resent them when they ascend to Hrothgar’s throne. A year passes, and Hrothulf becomes even more taciturn and remote. The only times he speaks are on his walks with Red Horse, a deaf and cranky old peasant who acts as his counselor and mentor. Hrothulf’s development in many ways parallels Grendel’s own. Grendel, like Hrothulf, is sad, lonely, and frustrated with the state of the world around him. Isolated and bitter, both characters try to find theories and systems that will fix or explain what they see as the essential problem in their respective worlds. Furthermore, Red Horse’s relationship with Hrothulf mirrors the dragon’s relationship with Grendel. Always a few steps ahead of their students, both Red Horse and the dragon enjoy disabusing their pupils of their idealistic notions. Grendel, for example, has a general feeling that the world is meaningless; the dragon responds that, yes, the world is meaningless and therefore there is no point in anything. Hrothulf feels that the government is unjust and violent; Red Horse responds that, yes, the government is unjust, but then again, all governments are
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unjust, so there is no point in government at all. Just as the dragon opposes the senselessness of philosophical systems, Red Horse opposes the senselessness of political systems. Hrothgar knows that their will come a time when Hrothulf, despite his current outward kindness and lonely awkwardness, will rise against him. In addition to the threat that the resentful Hrothulf presents, there is the problem of Wealtheow’s brother, Hymod. Furthermore, Ingeld, the increasingly powerful king of the Heathobards, also poses a
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Grendel Response 3 - Jonathan Gold Dr Mary Mar November 4...

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