Beowulf and Grendel Analysis

1500 minimum words required. No maximum length requirement.

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Allie Faden

English 1301

21 February 2017

     Beowulf and Grendel Analysis

            Your first essay will be an analysis of any narrow topic in Beowulf and Grendel that you both can identify and are interested in. You should select only one aspect of the poem and novel and analyze it thoroughly. Note that you can write this essay in a comparative way, but you are not required to do so.

            Understanding an underlying meaning of a poem can tell us a great deal about the perspectives, politics, culture, and ideologies one might find in it, as well as clue us into possible ways in which the novel’s author wanted his or her views to think about and evaluate his or her work. Be aware: you do not have to be right. You only have to be able to logically and reasonably substantiate your thought through evidence and well-reasoned argument. Consequently, our goal is to analyze and explain one aspect of the text that we think the authors intended us to get from the text.

While writing and drafting, consider the following questions:

  1. What sorts of mechanical or grammatical errors have I noticed or have been pointed out to me?
  2. What concepts exist that my reader might not understand?
  3. Can those issues be resolved with more detail and explanation?
  4. Are all of my quotes fully explained by me, or have I left them “hanging” for the reader to interpret?
  5. Does my essay make sense? Is my argument convincing?
  6. When I read my essay out loud, is there wording that is confusing or might not be easy to understand if someone doesn’t already know me?
  7. Do I like this essay? Do I feel proud of this essay because it demonstrates I now have expertise about my literary work and chosen topic?
  8. Is it logically organized?
  9. Is my works cited page formatted correctly?
  10. Is less than 10% of my paper quoted material? If it isn’t, how can I better explain and analyze the quotes so that I have written enough to avoid having a quotes-dominated essay?

            Again, your goal is to inform your readers on particular ways in which they might view the novel, and ideas that the authors might like their readers to grasp. Giving your audience an understanding of what the possible deeper meaning of a text could be can dramatically increase interest in reading the work actively. You want to be cautious in your assertions by ensuring there is evidence to support your hypothesis, but you also do not want to rely exclusively on the explicit statements of the authors. The deeper meanings of texts often come from inference and will not be spelled out for the reader. Your job is to bring these possibilities to the surface so the view can more easily see them. Make sure you spend some time thinking about possible problems with your argument. Come up with one or two problems with your argument and state them in your essay. Then answer why they are not really issues with evidence and support from your research.

            Please remember that drafting is an important aspect of writing. All writers draft, and no writer puts out well-written essays on the first (or often, twentieth) try. After completing your first draft, print it out and take a pen to it. Make as many corrections as you can. Then come back to your computer and save the essay as a new document. If your document title is “Mid-Semester Essay,” your next “new document” should be “Mid-Semester Essay1,” or similar. By saving as a new document before making any change to a previous one, you do not risk losing really good writing or information you didn’t see the value of in that moment. Should you need portions of previous drafts to fix or finish new drafts, they are on your hard drive, and you have a complete record of each step of your writing process. Once you have reviewed the corrections you wrote on your draft and changed the document, save again as a new document. This time, read that second draft aloud (to yourself or to others). Does it make sense when read aloud? Are some parts awkward or confusing? Change those as you read. I recommend you go through this process at least 3 times, leaving at least 12 hours between readings so you have time to process each draft as an entirely new entity.

SPECIAL NOTE: The grade you are assigned on the rough draft submitted represents the grade you would have earned, had the draft been your polished, final draft. Use feedback from the draft as a mechanism for discovering growing spaces and correcting problems in your writing.