Exercise Two:

Below you will find 12 sentences.  Your job is twofold.  First, put them into four groups of three according to thematic coherence.  Second, evaluate each sentence for truth.  When you are finished, compare your results with the key.  As always, consult with me if you have questions.

1. Gardner's Grendel is his reconstruction of old copies of the real myth, discovered in a garage in Portland, Maine.

2. According to Heaney, one way to read Beowulf is as a poem that presents the destinies of three peoples as revealed in the life of Beowulf.

3.  Beowulf's life is brought to an end by the dragon, in a battle of mutual destruction.

4.  Heaney resisted translating Beowulf, but was brought around by reflection on the meaning of the Old English word "polian".

5.  In the end, the dragon recommends that Grendel find some gold and sit on it.

6.  The climactic scene of Grendel is the underwater slaying of Grendel's mother by Beowulf.

7.  As Gardner sees it, Grendel is a philosophical novel that begins with the philosophical question, "if there isn't a reachable god, and if life has no inherent meaning how should one live?" 

8.  A Geat woman laments the fate of the Geats near the end of Beowulf, now that the great protector is no longer able to stave off the Swedes and other enemies.

9.  Gardner's actual philosophical views are presented most forcefully by the dragon.

10.  Heaney, as a translator, has a predilection for flowery and circuitous delivery.

11.  Prior to his encounter with the dragon, a serpent, a devil, Grendel had a bit of a soft spot for the Danes.  After the encounter, that soft spot was gone.

12.  Wiglaf, son of Weohstan, ran with the cowards when the dragon attacked Beowulf.


Key Argument