Week’s assignments (due Friday):

finish reading Beowulf,

submit revised tone essay to TURNITIN.  (See my post-conference reflections in past KWL post.)


As you read the last third of Beowulf, consider some of these questions, which have emerged from recent student reflections:

Grendel: nature or nurture?  In other words, does Grendel act from natural impulse or conditioned response?

If he does, why does the Beowulf-poet show any sympathy for a creature like Grendel?  How does sympathy for the monster contribute to the poem’s integrity?  In other words, how can you make the case that this sympathy fits the poem’s overall design?

What implications result from a hero and monster who seem to have some common qualities? (remember white-board class activity)

Does the poem devote more lines to celebrations and feasts than to battle scenes?  How do the relative numbers of lines affect the overall poem?

How does the poem balance, or reconcile, the themes of individual glory and the communal well-being?

Does the depiction of Grendel’s mother evoke more or less sympathy than the poem’s portrait of her child?  What new ingredients, if any, appear in the characterization of this second monster?