Grendel: A Child Like Everyone Else [Grendel, by John Gardner]

Essay by alphastormHigh School, 12th gradeA, October 2004

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Grendel's childhood can be looked upon as being a small part in a lone monsters life, or an experience which everyone on the face of the Earth sometime or another encounters. As a young lad, Grendel feels as if he is alone and by himself. He also feels that the only person he has to turn to is his mother, or parent; even then, there is a good amount of animosity. If anything, Grendel can be looked upon as showing the same emotional characteristics as a human child, minus the fur and the beastly appearance. Even though Grendel is the son of a troll-wife and is castigated as being hideous by the other creatures he encounters, under his ghastly appearance he is no more than an average child experiencing the same problems as anyone else his age.

At one point in the story, Grendel confesses that he "used to play games when [he] was young, it might as well be a thousand years ago" (p.

15). He says this to lead into the story about how he found the pool of fire snakes and the door leading to the outside world. By this, the reader knows that, as a child, Grendel had an adventurous sprit. The truth of the matter is that, as a child, everyone has a courageous will. I know that I as a child always was pondering what was behind every corner. I could not allow myself to handle any amount of curiosity. We, as children, live to learn more, and for Grendel, the same can be said.

When Grendel gets to the point in the story during which he first discusses his journeys out of his cave, he states that he "lived those years, as did all young things, in a spell" (p. 16).