Thursday, March 27, 2014

Poetry and Party Poopers

No one knows who wrote "Beowulf." But because of "Beowulf," we know a lot about ancient culture, particularly about some of the first literary heroes and villains.

For instance, the villain--the monster named Grendel--hates music. He first attacks the kingdom because he hears singing and it annoys him. He hates the sound; he hates the celebration; he hates the fellowship.

Grendel lives far away from people. {I guess he just has phenomenal hearing.} We later find out that he shares a home with his mother, but it's just the two of them. He hates company.

From the way Grendel is villainized {I choose to believe that's a word}, we modern-day readers can gather that in "Beowulf's" day, silence and solitude were frowned upon. If you didn't like poetry and parties, you were evil.

But then you have the hero, Beowulf, himself. Beowulf doesn't LIVE in solitude, but does insist on going to battle alone. How come the hero can get away with the very actions that make the villain what he is?

I don't know.

I also can't decide if I think today's values have changed or not.

Certainly, today's heroes must be team players or they're labeled "arrogant." If modern heroes demand to work alone, 9 times out of 10 they end up suffering some kind of "humbling" experience that teaches them to value others. This is because today’s issues are increasingly of global rather than regional importance, causing heroes to model teamwork as a subtle lesson for society.

What about poetry and parties? Personally, I support the idea that hating poetry makes you a villain XD But parties?

I think today's society is at least a little more accepting of introverts. We don't rip their arms off or anything. However, there's still the whole wallflower/party pooper stigma, and being "popular" is a timelessly desirable trait.

I dunno. In thirteen hundred years, a lot of things can change. But some things don't change a lot.



  1. Grendel hates the celebration and noisemaking because he's a demon who hates people in general. I kinda doubt that he decided to go on a murderous rampage because he's a misunderstood regular person who just doesn't like loud parties.

  2. Must be an English-major thing XD