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Marissa Spinner

September 13, 2018


Mrs. McFadden
Beowulf and Grendel Annotated Outline
The Impact Of Expression
I. Every aspect of a work is carefully chosen by an author in order to make the audience
think and feel a certain way about a topic. Whether the audience has a preexisting opinion or
prejudice on a particular idea, purposeful modes of expression force the audience to consider
another perspective. The works ​Beowulf,​ and ​Grendel ​ both illustrate examples of selective
literary techniques to elicit a specific response from the reader. No matter what techniques the
author chooses to use, the intent is to make the reader form a particular opinion about a
subject. The mode in which someone chooses to express an idea has complete control over
how the message is perceived.
II. Body 1
A. Key Idea sentence: The point of view an author selects significantly influences a
reader's opinion and relationship with different characters, and the work as a whole.
a. Textual evidence:
The prince Beowulf had killed Grendel whom had instilled fear and terror on
Hrothgar’s people, so now they are able to live without the constant
threat of the ruthless monster attacking them thanks to Beowulf’s victory.
(​Beowulf​ 830-833).
i. Annotation: At this point in the epic Beowulf had killed Grendel, the
monster who the people had feared tremendously would brutally kill
them. The use of the third person omniscient when describing
Beowulf’s “victory” villainizes Grendel while at the same time
boosting Beowulf up on a pedestal. The choice of perspective allows
the reader to gain insight on the story without having the input of the
characters involved in it. However, the way the narrator is describing
the sequence of events is biased to the point where it is comparable
to Hrothgar’s people view of the situation and is defiantly one-sided
in favor of Beowulf. The impact this choice has on the reader is
significant, considering they are forming opinions on how a specific
event is perceived, and the role of the characters regarding who is
considered the villain and hero. All of which is based on the
narrator's depiction on the positive outcome of Grendel’s death.
b. Textual evidence:
“He told of an ancient feud between two brothers which split all the world between
darkness and light. And I, Grendel was the dark side, he said in effect. The
terrible race God cursed. I believed him....Stood wriggling my face, letting
tears down my nose, grinding my fists into my streaming eyes…”
(​Gardner 51).
i. Annotation: In this quote Grendel is observing a legend being told
about himself regarding how he is a monstrous being, which makes
him feel very ostracized and upset. The tactical choice to make this
quote written in the first person allows the audience to both
emphasize and sympathize with Grendel. The first person
perspective allows the reader to gain insight on Grendel through his
thoughts and actions that would not have been given if this was
written in the third person. In ​Beowulf​, Grendel is solely portrayed as
a vicious beast, whereas in ​Grendel​ the perspectives changed in
different sections of the book which enhances the audiences personal
connection with the characters and gives multiple perspectives. In
this case, the audience is able to see a more vulnerable side to the
“monster” and have a well rounded opinion of him.
c. Transitional sentence: Every aspect of a work is carefully thought out in
order to convey a specific message to the audience; while the point of view
has a significant impact on how the readers perceive the characters, the
dialogue between characters themselves has just as much impact on what the
message is.
III. Body 2
B. Key Idea sentence: The interactions between the characters within a work influences
the reader’s perception of the figures in addition to the author’s message.
a. Textual evidence:
Hrothgar speaks of the glory and victory that Beowulf will forever have because of
his bravery for killing Grendel. Beowulf then responds talking about how he
had to use his hands in order to kill Grendel, and he wishes that he could
show his rotting body to everyone but God was against him by not allowing
that to happen. He goes on by wishing nothing but a horrible agony when he
burns in hell.
(​Beowulf 953-977)
i. Annotation: The interaction between Hrothgar and Beowulf allows
the reader to gain insight on the character’s motivations and mindset
which impacts the audience's opinion of Beowulf’s character. The
dialogue between the two characters emphasizes Beowulf’s entitled
persona as well as the dark side to him that was not as developed
through the standard formatting of the work. Throughout the epic
Beowulf portrayed that his intentions were for the greater good of
society, however, this conversation forces the reader to question his
character and intentions. Dialogue between characters enlightens the
audience of the different layers of the figure. The various layers can
juxtapose what the reader has previously concluded, or reiterate their
previous opinions, depending on how the author chooses to develop
that interaction.
b. Textual evidence:
“My promise. Time is the mind, the hand that makes (fingers in hartstring,
hero-swords, the acts, the eyes of queens). By that I kill you’ I do not listen. I
am sick at heart. I have been betrayed before by talk like that. “Mama! I
bawl”
(​Gardner 170)​
i. Annotation: This interaction between Beowulf and Grendel right
before Grendel’s death makes the reader have a different
interpretation of both characters and forces their opinions to be
questioned. The event of Grendel’s death was told completely
different in the epic ​Beowulf, ​where it depicted that Beowulf was not
trying to interact with Grendel whatsoever, except to kill the
monster. Whereas in this interaction it highlights that Beowulf got
self satisfaction from tormenting Grendel and boosting his ego, while
the monster was scared and called for his mother. Without the
dialogue between these two characters, the audience may have not
felt the need to question Beowulf’s character, due to believing that he
was just killing a monster. The questioning of the figures character’s
makes the audience ponder if the human is the monster, or Grendel,
all due to the purposeful dialogue between the two characters.
c. Transitional sentence: The interactions between characters in a work causes
the audience to perceive the figures in a specific way in order to convey a
particular message; the use of characterization of the same characters has a
different but just as impactful method to portray a message.
IV. Body 3
C. Key Idea sentence: The author’s purposeful way of depicting a character has
complete control over how the audience views the various characters as well as how
the audience views an idea.
a. Textual evidence:
“And Beowulf uttered his final boast:
‘I’ve never known fea; as a youth I fought
In endless battle. I am old, now,
But I will fight again, seek fame still,
If the dragon hiding in his tower dares
To face me”’
(​Beowulf 2511-2515 )​ .
i. Annotation: The characterization of Beowulf in this quote exhibits
the prominent egotistical element to his personality. Even as an old
man, he continues to boast about his abilities as a fighter and “dares”
the dragon to fight him, which plays a huge role in the audience's
perception of Beowulf. Throughout the course of the the epic, there
was no sense of admission from Beowulf about having any flaws,
almost as if he views himself as god-like. Not admitting his flaws
failed to make the audience empathize with him as well as make the
reader view him as a heroic figure, but makes the audience question
what the portrayal of this story is leaving out. The characterization of
Beowulf is also a representation of the time period being
implemented into the writing where men wanted to be the best
warriors, or a stereotypical alpha male. The arrogant, strong
description of Beowulf influences the audience's opinion of the role
he plays in the good vs. evil debate with Grendel.
b. Textual evidence:
“I had ​become​ something, as if born again. I had hung between possibilities
before, between the cold truths I knew and the heart-sucking conjuring tricks
of the Shaper; now that was passed: I was Grendel, Ruiner of Meadhalls,
Wrecker of Kings!”
(​Gardner 80​).
i. Annotation: At this point in the book, Grendel had just had an
epiphany after speaking to the dragon about embracing the monster
within himself, since humans need a monster villainize. This
characterization twist forces the audience to contemplate the message
that humans work together if they have something to fight against,
otherwise humans will fight each other. Throughout the book
Grendel was very open about his flaws, and allowed the reader to
sympathize with him in addition to question if he was a monster.
The development of Grendel’s personality of embracing the dark
side of him makes the audience develop a strong opinion about how
the work as a whole is portraying the message of good vs. evil and if
there is a character that solely symbolizes only one of them.
c. Transitional sentence: The mode in which an author chooses to portray a
character as well as the specific words used to describe them has a significant
role in the opinions formed by the reader about the figures, as well as the
work as a whole.

V. Body 4
D. Key Idea sentence: The author’s choiceful use of strong diction in a work impacts
how the audience perceives characters, as well as a specific idea.
a. Textual evidence:
Beowulf saw nothing to be scared of when it came to any aspect of the beastly
dragon; the fire, the wings, talons, the teeth. He had been triumphant in
situations where the advantage was not in his favor, had survived in more
brutal battles and remained victorious.
(​Beowulf 2347-2350)​ .
b. Annotation: The strong action words used in this quote used to depict
Beowulf’s capabilities in defeating the dragon make the reader visualize
Beowulf as a God-like figure that no matter what challenge he is faced with,
he is always victorious. If these powerful words were not used, the audience
may not have the same opinion on Beowulf or value his accomplishments as
heavily. The choice of words has a tremendous impact on the weight of a
message or idea has on the reader. The use of words also had an impact on
what the message comes across as; if the author were to use a word like
“barely” before survived, or struggled, the audience's interpretation will be
that Beowulf wants to be heroic but is a weak character.
c. Textual evidence
“‘You improve them, my boy! Can’t you see that yourself? You stimulate them! You
make them think and scheme. You drive them to poetry, science, religion, all
that makes them what they are for as long as they last. You are, so to speak,
the brute existent by which they learn to define themselves”’
(Gardner 72-73).
i. Annotation: The use of the positive words to depict how Grendel is
aiding the humans by being his brutal monstrous self forces the
audience to consider how a villain aids society. If the words used
were replaced with diction such as “harm” or “destroy” the meaning
of what the dragon is saying would be completely destroyed along
with the opinions made about an idea. The words utilized in a work
are carefully chosen by the author to emulate a specific idea, or
message, and to alter the words used would destroy the opinion of a
character, or idea.
d. Transitional sentence: There are several factors an author must consider
when attempting to portray a specific message, and the choice of diction is
just one part of a big puzzle that impacts the audience's opinion of what the
message is.
VI. The works ​Beowulf a​ nd ​Grendel​ both utilize selective choices of literary techniques in
order to obtain a specific response from the audience. Whether the techniques used are
diction, characterization, point of view, interactions between characters or any other
technique all have a specific role in making the reader feel a specific way about a topic.
While the audience may have a distinct perspective, these purposeful modes of expression
impel the reader to question their opinions and gives the author complete management over
the feelings of the audience. Everyone may have a different interpretation of what a specific
idea means, however, the objective is to make the reader have a specific opinion on a topic.
The way someone chooses to express a message has complete control over how the opinion
of an idea is formulated.
Works Cited

Gardner, John. ​Grendel.​ Random House, Inc., 1989.

​ ranslated by Burton Raffel. New American Library, 1999.


Beowulf. T

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