Grendel's Mother - Book Review Essay Example

Published: 2022-04-12 17:42:31
Grendel's Mother - Book Review Essay Example
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories: Poem
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1410 words
12 min read
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'Grendel's Mother' is a book that was written in the twenty-first century. It, however, tells a story that attempts to fill in details from a different perspective to a poem that was written many years prior; Beowulf. The relationship between the stories told in these two pieces of literature reveals that the book, 'Grendel's Mother,' is an adaptation of the poem.

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The book begins with a description of how a boat of an unusual make is washed up to the shores of the land of Scyldings. In the boat is an abandoned baby covered in clothes with salt crusts; as the author says, "the brine baby who floated mysteriously to shore." The baby is taken by the family of a local fisherman and named Brimhild. Not long after the king of Scyldings, Hrothgar legalizes the adoption of the baby into their tribe. The King' mother is against the adoption of the foreign child as she is sure it would only lead to misfortunes. Brimhild grows up in her new country as she receives teachings on the ways of the people. She also learns of a religion that worships a gentle god from a traveler who was an Irish monk.

When she becomes an adult, she rises through the ranks of society and becomes the wife of King Hrothgar who oversees the building of Heorot- "the hall- queen presiding over the triumphant building of the golden hall Heorot" the pride of Scyldings. Later a son is born to her, who is named Grendel. Brimhild raises him secretly in the Christian faith. As time passes, the author unveils the internal conflict Brimhild develops. Battles within herself between the truth of her origin and the threat she faces as a leader of her new tribe. She suffers physical an emotional abuse while still queen, then tides start changing against her and her son, and their image is completely tarnished, then they are hunted. In Chapter 22, Grendel's mother and his half-sister who was also his lover are shown mourning him. This was after he was killed by Beowulf. This tale describes a constant war between good and evil in all areas of life. In the main character herself, in the way, people treat their fellow humans, and ultimately in the war against Grendel and his mother.

The book by Susan Morrison is an adaptation of Beowulf since the writer attempts to shed light on other events that could have been happening which may have influenced the turn of events in Beowulf. The writer brings out the theme of war between good and evil in a very similar manner to how it was represented in the poem. In the poem, every step of the way was a war between good forces and evil forces.

At the beginning of the poem, a description is made of physical war between the leaders of Danes and their foes. Line 4-5; "There was Shield Sheafson, scourge of many tribes. This terror of the hall troops had come far" Throughout the poem, there is an elaboration of how princes fought in a war to protect their people and their rule. The good in this context is the course for which the lords of Danes fought while the evil is their foe. At a later point while Hrothgar is king, Beowulf is seen coming to the Danes to fight against an evil monster, Grendel, who attacked men at the Heorot and killed them, sometimes eating them; line 103- 104 "Grendel was the name of this grim demon. Haunting the marches, marauding around the hearth". Beowulf also battled against Grendel's mother after she attempted to avenge her son by killing men at the Heorot. In this context, Beowulf represents the good, while Grendel and his mother represent the evil. Much later, in Beowulf's old age he had to battle against a dragon awaken by a thief on a stealing spree. The dragon is the symbol of the evil while Beowulf is the embodiment of good

The same war is also seen where it pertains to religion. Godliness, as portrayed by Beowulf, is the good and godlessness in Grendel is bad. In lines, 267-270 Beowulf says that his hands alone would fight for him in the struggle against a monster. He, however, acknowledges that it was God who would decide who would be given to the cold grip of death. Throughout the poem, there is evidence of a constant battle between good and evil albeit in different forms. At the end of the road in the battle between good and bad, good always triumphed.

Similarly, Susan Morrison represents a continuous war between good and evil at every turn. Notably, this is exemplified by a few instances. First, in the main character is an ongoing internal war. A battle of self-identity. At the beginning of the book, she is described as an innocent child as she lay in her boat sleeping, "salt-encrusted with a scarlet sun- tattered skin." She is a symbol of purity as the book starts, yet soon afterward the king's mother is certain that the child will only be a cause for misfortune if she was allowed to stay. Right there in the identity of the abandoned child is a war. She is seen as good and bad, innocent and a cause for evil. The same struggle is seen in the way people treat their fellow people. Women especially suffer in the hands of brutes. There is a vivid portrayal of the physical and emotional abuse that is carried out against the women who are helpless. The women here are the symbol of the good which is constantly crashed by the evil symbolized by the men who rape them. The women constantly try to be free of the widespread mistreatment by men, but they fail repeatedly. And the men who mistreat them win. The war between good and evil is also seen when eventually Grendel and his mother Brimhild are defamed and hunted. From the perspective of the book, however, Grendel and his mother were only misunderstood and were not the true evil, but the good hunted by the bad. This is elaborated in Chapter 22 while Grendel's mother and his lover mourn him "they suffered more than Gjaflaug Herborg and Gullrond, those widowed ladies each claiming she was most unhappy." They were saddened by the injustice they perceived in what had happened to Grendel since they saw his actions from a different perspective other than that of a destructive monster as the rest of the people saw him. Unlike in the poem, the good does not triumph over the bad in the book. In a few occasions as elaborated above, evil won.

The author of the book helped to represent the theme of war between good and bad as an extension of the same theme in Beowulf in various ways. First, by using similar names the reader is grounded to the context in which Beowulf was written, and the reader understands both pieces as a single continuum. The use of similar alliterative poetic language in both pieces also helps the reader to be able to relate them as tales from the same time in history, only told differently. Alliteration in Beowulf is exemplified in line 4; "There was Shield Sheafson, scourge of many tribes" with three words in alliteration. In the book it is seen in a text such as this: "There she saw the soft seaweed, barnacled bed, of a marine monster. Leaving her work, approaching with caution, she listened for linnets along the lime lane."

In a world where things are unequal, there is always a war between the two which are not equivalent. As highly perceptive beings, humans will always conclude that whatever is not for them is definitely against them. Right there war is sparked between good and bad, whether perceived or real. As such, this is exemplified when there are some people who are stronger than others in an arena where each seeks his gain. The stronger ones, having better means, will always seem to prey on the weaker ones to get greater gains. Whether or not the preying exists, dissatisfaction as a result of the inequality leads to a coarse relationship between the two parties which ultimately leads to constant wrangles. Where the good and bad fall may be biased by to individual perception, but the war will undoubtedly be a battle between one thing that is good and one that is not.

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