Grendel Letter

You should read this letter John Gardener wrote to a class who read his book. It’s quite interesting because it discusses how Gardner the author of Grendel interpreted the epic of Beowulf. You can read it here.

Its interesting to observe how Gardner interprets his own book. While the writers of the initial letter thought that the dragon somehow represented the author’s thought about god, Gardner quickly corrects them by saying that in fact the dragon itself is not important. The dragon is simply another creature created out of his imagination like Grendel itself. He goes on to further state that when reading serious works of literature, readers should not assume that items in the book represent the author. In my opinion, this thought seems mostly counter-intuitive because I feel like that in my previous English classes, we (my classes) were taught to connect the story or aspects of the story to the author in some way. However, I can acknowledge Gardner’s point because aspects in serious works of literature are suppose to relate to some universal observation or truth.

Another aspect of Gardner’s letter worth mentioning is theories, specifically how they are nonsense. I find it strange then how he says theories are important for man to understand himself. I guess the theories made to not have to make sense as long as they help man discover himself.


Poem of the Day

And the Sea

Patrick Ryan Frank

Once, I wanted to be Hemingway.
But so did Hemingway. That act is hard—
dumb facts decked out as art, and anyway,
who gets what they want? And then who cares?
What matters when the water at your feet
is running out without you? I grew my beard
and bought a little boat on credit, named
it after myself and painted all of it blue,
then put us out to sea. And when it’s calm
and when the sun is out, we disappear.
We’re gone. What else was I supposed to do?

I think the first thing that should be addressed is whether or not I like this poem.

I do.

I especially think how simple this poem sounds, yet it holds some significant meaning. Then again most poems do…. Another aspect of this poem I like is the number of rhetorical questions it has (4 in total). I also think that the transition between I and We towards the end of the poem.

In my opinion, the meaning behind the poem is to find out what you want to do or the world will move around you will move past you. The poet talks about wanting to become Hemingway, which was his dream, but he gave it up. Readers can tell he gave up on becoming Neo-Hemingway because of how he stated dumb facts decked out as art, which is mocking the dream. THe world is moving pact the narrator because the “water” at his feet is running without him.