Sunday, February 6, 2011

Prompts for Thursday's Blog (Beowulf/Grendel)

#1)  Briefly describe Hrothgar's "theory" (or, if you prefer, call it the Shaper's theory) from Grendel, citing at least one passage.  Then, argue in detail that this theory is, or is not, like the vision of the poet who wrote Beowulf, citing multiple passages from Beowulf to make your case.  Very likely, this will require that you build upon or respond to our class discussion.  Remember, your job is not to repeat what I said, or your peers said, but to extend it or challenge it, or a little of both.

#2)  Identify a change, or a limited set of changes, which Gardner makes to one of the Beowulf characters.  Ideally, you shouldn't just be writing about something which is fleshed out a little from the poem, but something which is actually different.  After identifying that difference, do your best to explain what motivates it - what is Gardner trying to change about (or bring out about) the poem's overall plan or vision?  This prompt is fairly broad - but your reading should focus on a single meaning of a single change, or small set of changes. (Example:  why is Grendel afraid of himself?)

#3)  This is the same as #3 for last week.  Go to the library, either physically or virtually.  You need to find a scholarly article on Beowulf, which *must* be from the Pitt library.  I strongly suggest that you use the MLA Database.  I'm going to give you a link - you may need to log in if you're off campus, and the link may be different on campus, etc.  If you have trouble, you can ask me for help, but it might be easier to deal with a librarian - it's up to you.


Once you have picked and read an article, you need to do two things.

1)  Summarize one of its arguments, making use of citations and possibly quotes from it.
2)  Apply it to our class discussion - either extend or critique something we/I had to say about the poem, using this scholarly article.

FOR THIS OPTION ONLY, you may take until 4 p.m. on Saturday (that deadline is firm).  If you're doing so, just email me to let me know IN ADVANCE.

Also, you must cite your article, using whatever citation method you know.  If you don't know any, google either the MLA method of citation, or the Chicago style, and use one or the other.

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