Grendel

by

John Gardner

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The Ram, Bull, and Goat

These three animals come to epitomize Grendel’s understanding of nature as indifferent and mechanical. At the beginning of the novel, the ram irritates Grendel because of the way it mindlessly follows its instincts and mechanical… (read full symbol analysis)

The Intertwining Trees

Hrothgar dreams that he sees two trees that have grown together, twisting around each other. This image encapsulates the mutual dependence that characterizes the relationship between Grendel and Hrothgar (and the humans more generally). The… (read full symbol analysis)

The Oak Overlooking the Abyss

Several times toward the end of the novel, Grendel has a strange vision of himself holding onto the roots of an oak, hanging over a dark abyss. As Grendel’s death approaches, this foreboding vision symbolizes… (read full symbol analysis)