Grendel chapter 1
1. When chapter 1 begins, how long has Grendel been waging his "idiotic war"? Why does he call it that?
2. Why does Grendel call himself the "earth-rim-roamer"?
3. Who is the only friend the world allows Grendel?
4. According to Grendel, what is the only way he can die?
5. Describe Grendel's mother with specific details.
6. Grendel experiences different emotions during and after the raid on the meadhall. Describe and explain them.
7. To what do the townsfolk attribute Grendel's rampage?
8. Are the townsfolk adherents of paganism or Christianity? Give evidence.
9. Is King Hrothgar an adherent of paganism or Christianity? Give evidence.
10. At the end of the chapter, the words "lunatic theory" are repeated. Why? To what does this phrase refer in both instances?
11. Short Essay: What first impression is the reader supposed to have of Grendel? Look for clues in the text that make Grendel sympathetic (meaning we should have sympathy for him). 300 words
Grendel chapter 2
1. How does Grendel's mother treat him?
2. What does Grendel see for the first time when he is stuck in the trees?
3. What does Grendel discover about the bull?
4. What does Grendel discover about men? Why are men more dangerous than the bull?
5. What do the men think Grendel is when they see him in the tree? (more than one answer)
6. Why does Grendel start laughing hysterically?
1. Explain the quotation, "I alone exist." (p. 22)
2. Explain the quotation, "I create the whole universe." (p. 22)
3. We see a different side to Grendel's relationship with his mother in this chapter. Explain.
4. Why does Grendel feel alone, ugly, and obscene?
5. On page 19, Grendel describes everything he sees as "not-my-mother". What does he mean?
6. How does Grendel define the bull's instinct?
7. By gaining the upper hand in his confrontation with the bull, Grendel finally understands something. What is it?
8. Short Essay: Explain how Grendel was a typical child. Then explain how Grendel’s thought processes show him to be not so typical of a child’s. Use specific evidence from the text. 400 words
Grendel chapter 3
1. When does Grendel set his soul on destroying Hrothgar? Why?
2. What does Grendel witness when he spies on Hrothgar's men?
3. Give an example of paganism from chapter three.
4. Who is the Shaper?
5. What effect does the Shaper have on Grendel? Why?
6. What effect does the Shaper have on Hrothgar's men?
7. What upsets Grendel so much at the end of the chapter?
8. Short Essay: Analyze the hypocrisy that Grendel sees in Men. 250 words
Grendel chapter 4
1. Explain how Hart (Herot) was built by the power of the Shaper's songs.
2. Explain why Grendel says, "My heart was light with Hrothgar's goodness, and leaden with grief at my own bloodthirsty ways." (p. 48)
3. Why does it bother Grendel so much to find the murdered man?
4. Why was the Shaper singing about and how does it affect Grendel? (around p.51)
5. What does Grendel do to the men in the meadhall? How do the men react?
6. What does Grendel really want?
7. Why is it that Grendel is addicted to hearing the harpist but hates it so much?
8. Short Essay: Is the reader supposed to feel sympathy at this point? Explain your response using evidence from the book and / or from a real-life situation. 300 words
Grendel chapter 5
1. How does the dragon treat Grendel?
2. How does Grendel react to the dragon?
3. Describe the dragon's physical appearance.
4. What does Grendel want to find out from the dragon?
5. What answer does Grendel receive?
6. Why does Grendel deny that nothing interests him but excitement and violence? (p. 67)
7. What advice does the dragon give to Grendel?
8. Short Essay: Analyze the relationship between the dragon and Grendel. Use evidence from the text, including incorporated quotations. 300 words
Grendel chapter 6
1. How did the dragon change Grendel? (there is more than one answer)
2. How has Grendel's reaction to the Shaper's songs changed? How do they affect him now?
3. What is Grendel's first act of blatant, intentional violence against men?
4. Explain the quotation, "I had become, myself, the mama I'd searched the cliffs for once in vain."
5. Describe Unferth's physical appearance.
6. How does Grendel humiliate Unferth?
7. Why does Unferth follow Grendel to his cave?
8. Explain Unferth's concept of inner heroism.
9. Why does Unferth threaten to kill himself?
10. Why won't Grendel kill Unferth? How does it make Unferth feel?
11. What does Grendel do with Unferth at the end of the chapter?
12. Throughout the chapter, Grendel keeps smelling something. What is it?
13. Short Essay: Did Grendel have a choice to be a bad monster, or is this the fate that was intended for him? Give specific evidence for your response. 400 words
Grendel chapter 7
1. Describe Wealtheow's physical appearance.
2. Why does the young king offer Hrothgar his sister?
3. How does Wealtheow affect Grendel?
4. How does she affect the men? Give an example.
5. Why does Grendel attack Wealtheow?
6. What do the men do while Grendel is attacking her?
7. According to Grendel, why doesn't he kill Wealtheow?
8. Explain the quotation, "I had wrecked another theory."
9. How is Grendel changing? Where is he in his life?
10. Short Essay: Explain how Grendel contradicts himself. Why does he contradict himself? 250 words
Grendel chapter 9
1. Describe December.
2. What do the priests first pray for?
3. What do they call their god?
4. Give two reasons Grendel agrees that religion is sick.
5. What is Grendel's opinion of priests?
6. What joke does Grendel play on the priest?
7. Describe the reaction of the blind priest.
8. How does their worship ritual reflect pagan times?
9. p.134: The third priest says, "Lunatic priests are bad business." Why do you think he compares religion to business? Do you think religion is business?
10. Short Essay: Why does it make sense that Grendel has little respect for religion? Do his beliefs change when he sees the blind devotion of Ork? Explain your answer with evidence from the text. 300 words
Grendel chapter 10
1. Short Essay: Explain the quotation, "Tedium is the worst pain." You will need to understand what tedium means first. Give examples from throughout the book of Grendel’s tedium and how it has caused him pain. 400 words
2. Why does Grendel take out his anger on the goat? What is it about the goat that makes him so angry?
3. Why does Grendel mention the story the old woman tells the children?
4. Describe the behavior of Grendel's mother. Has her behavior really changed, or has Grendel's perception changed?
5. After the Shaper dies, Grendel talks about what he should have done to him (p. 146). What does Grendel say? Why didn't he kill the Shaper when he had the chance?
6. On p. 149, Grendel says, "We're on our own again. Abandoned." What does he mean? Why is this significant?
7. Grendel is uneasy at the end of the chapter. Why?
Grendel chapter 11
1. Why is Grendel so excited that the Stranger has come?
2. Describe all aspects of the Stranger (voice, appearance, etc...).
3. Why can't Grendel decide whether or not he is afraid of the Stranger? What's to be afraid of?
4. Why does the fact that Grendel has seen the Dragon give him courage?
5. According to Grendel, how is the world divided? Explain. (p. 158) What other divisions have you read about in this book?
6. Why aren't the priests happy about the Stranger's arrival?
7. How do the Danes receive the Geats?
8. What does Unferth say to the Stranger?
9. Explain why Grendel says of the Stranger, "He believed every word he said." Why is that important?
10. What makes Unferth cry?
11. Explain the quotation, "The stranger was no player of games."
12. What does Grendel begin to feel / imagine as he watches the Stranger talk to the Danes?
13. What does Unferth finally understand about inner heroism?
14. Why is Grendel growing more and more afraid of the Stranger?
15. Grendel says he would have to kill the Stranger for the honor of the old priest and of Hrothgar's thanes. Explain.
16. Short Essay: Relate the Stranger’s coming to the quotation “Tedium is the worst pain” from ch. 10. 200 words
Grendel chapter 12
1. How does Grendel feel when he goes into the meadhall for the last time? (Examine the language)
2. How does John Gardner use humor in this chapter? Why is his use of humor important?
3. When Grendel first encounters the Stranger, how does he describe his grip?
4. What does the Stranger do to Grendel after he grabs his arm? Be specific.
5. On p.170, the Stranger talks to Grendel. Where have we heard this speech before?
6. What is happening to the Stranger physically as he talks to Grendel? Is it really happening, or is Grendel just imagining it?
7. Why is it ironic that Grendel says, "If you think I created that wall that cracked my head, you're a f...ing lunatic." (p.171)
8. What is the reason Grendel gives for his losing to the Stranger?
9. Who does Grendel call for? Why? What finally happens to Grendel?
10. Explain: "Poor Grendel's had an accident. So may you all."
11. Short Essay: Did Grendel choose his fate, or was it an “accident”? Give specific details (including incorporated quotations and vocabulary words) from the text to support your argument. 500 words