John Gardner

Teachers and parents! Our Teacher Edition on Grendel makes teaching easy.

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 analysis of The Ram, Bull, and Goat

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 analysis of The Intertwining Trees

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 analysis of The Oak Overlooking the Abyss