Bella Abbruzzino Professor McKee LIT 2000 21 March 2016 Stromme, Craig J. "The Twelve Chapters of Grendel."Â Novels for Students. Detroit: Gale, 1998.Â Literature Resource Center. Web. 29 Feb. 2016 In Strommeâs essay, he discusses how Gardner showed different philosophical principles in each chapter. He first starts by discussing an interview involving Gardner in which he explains that he organized all twelve chapters with connection to astrological signs. Stromme then states that although his statements give an immediate clarification of what the novel is about, it is really just a clue. Stromme then goes on to explain that this clue isnât so much an easy clue as Gardner stated in his interview, because astrologers have different views and agree with things differently. He then gives examples of how astrologists disagree, and then goes into curiosity as to how he could blend these astrological traits as a whole. Before Stromme begins his literary criticism, he disclaims that besides its basic plot, everything of Beowulf will be forgotten. Although Grendel was born from the novel Beowulf, Grendel is different in terms of motivation for action in that Grendel focuses on the philosophical ways of the world not heroism. He further backs this up by shortly explaining that a character lives an idea, not just describes it. He continues by saying that Grendel is the arbiter of philosophy because he is not human. Grendel is so interested in discovering how best o live life, that he has no interest in just one particular philosophy. The philosophical ideas are either lived by Grendel himself, or the characters in the book. He explains that we have the ability to see the historical development of philosophy through Grendelâs actions and observations. A few paragraphs in Stromme begins to explain how each astrological sign is represented in each chapter. The first chapter begins with Aries, which is said to represent the beginning of a new cycle. The author starts talking about Grendel and his cycle. Grendel mentions that he was in the twelfth year of his âidioticâ war and that the year begins and continues as it has the last eleven years. He realizes he is trapped in the same never-ending pattern. Grendel presents the first and one of the oldest philosophical ideas, the theory of the world as a constant loop of endless cycles and repetition. The author talks about chapter two, the Taurus chapter, with his realization that it is he against the world, which is represented by the bull. The author speaks of Grendelâs realization. This realization is that he is alone came when he was out exploring during his youth and he got stuck in his trap, and he accepts that his mother will not save him. She does end up saving him, and it is safe in the cave where he begins his journey as a solipsist begins. Stromme refers to this incident in his youth because this is said to be his claim to unique existence, which is the fundamental basis of philosophy. The author talks about chapter three, the Gemini chapter, which is represented by the wobbly twins Grendel sees. The author speaks of the Shaper and Grendel. The Shaper is introduced in this chapter, and he challenges Grendelâs solipsism. The shaper uses his songs to produce a better world, and makes Grendel see the truth of the real world. Geminiâs are known to be superficial, versatile and incentive. Stromme discusses how the shaper carries these traits just as Sophists too, and how the Shaper is similar to Sophists. One way is that they both remade the world with their voices, whether by argument or song. The author talks about chapter four, the Cancer chapter, the nourisher. The author explains how chapter four gives us insight of the growth of religion that the Shaper has created for Hrothgarâs villagers to see which nourishes the new world. The Shaper songs are said to be Old Testament theology, the good goes to heaven and the evil burns forever. The author then speaks of how the Shaper has affected Grendel. Grendel realizes he is the evil of creation and the cursed outcast of the fable the Shaper sings about, so he begs forgiveness from the villagers only to be slashed at by their swords. The author talks about chapter five, the Leo chapter, the dramatizer. Grendel learns of his role that has been created by the new order the Shaper provides. The author goes into details and explains Grendelâs meeting with the dragon. Grendel meets with the dragon, where they discuss Grendelâs part in the world. The dragon is basically a metaphysician whom understands and explains everythingâs place in the role. Rather than allowing Grendel to accept the Shapers simple theology of the world, he gives Grendel the insight of the complexity of the world. The author talks about chapter six, the Virgo chapter. Chapter six is where Grendel âfinds his role in the orderâ. Stromme talks about âexistence precedes essenceâ which means people exist well before they create themselves to be capable of behaving properly and logically in the world. He then talks about the change with Grendel that occurs in chapter 6. Before Grendel realizes who he was, he has no sense of himself and just accepts the images everyone else has of him. Grendel is sceptic, and designates his role in the new world to be the destroyer of menâs hypocritical orders. The author talks about chapter seven, the Libra chapter, the âconciliatorsâ. The author discusses Wealthrow and her importance. Chapter seven is all about Wealthrow, whom brings peace and harmony to the village. Wealthrows faith balances the skepticism of Grendel. Grendel will not sacrifice anything but Wealthrow âhad given her life for those she lovedâ. Stromme says just like Virgo and Libra are the center of the astrological world, chapter six and chapter seven are the center of the novel. Stromme states that the end of chapter seven has brought a change amongst Grendel and the village, and it has brought contrasting views. The author explains the significance of the first seven chapters. Chapter seven contrasts the different views of to world between Grendel and Wealthrow, which is chaos versus order and purpose. The first seven chapters have changed Grendel into a âangry skeptical monsterâ from a âfrightened solipsistic childâ. The village grew from a few huts to a city-state. The author then talks about the rest of the story following the end of chapter 7.Everything needed for Beowulfâs entrance has been provided. Since the plot has been developed, the following four chapters is the development of philosophical ideas. Gardner in an interview talks about chapter eight, such as that âitâs a lyrical formâ. Chapter eight is meant to explore philosophies, which differentiate it from the traditional novels. After discussing chapter eight a bit, he goes into detail of chapter eight, the Scorpio chapter. Stromme mentions that Machiavelliâs ideas are brought to the village. Hrothulf, who is the âsweet scorpionâ, converses with red horse, which is where he learns of statecraft. Hrothgarâs village has become all about power. The author then explains how the village is entering the modern age, where Hrothulfâs scheming replaces the love and charity of Wealthrow. The author talks about chapter nine, the Sagittarius chapter. We see that the church has turned into a study of Whiteheadâs idea of process. The author goes into detail of Grendelâs experience with Ork. Grendel hides and convinces one of the elder priests to explain the nature of the villageâs god. Younger priests came to talk to the priest, only to laugh at him and his theories. Grendel is upset by this scene and questions why younger priests donât believe in what they preach. The author talks about chapter ten, the Capricorn chapter. Grendel does not understand the insensitivity of men. Capricorns are known to pessimists. Grendel develops a Nietzschean philosophy in this chapter. The shaper dies, moving Grendel. Grendel recognizes that with the shaper dead, there is emptiness in the world, they are alone without the shapers art which made the world real. Grendel believes that âWeâre on our own again. Abandonedâ. The author then explains how Nietzcheâs writing correlated with Grendel. Nietzcheâs writing when he is faced with the death of god parallels the despair of Grendel and the conclusions he draws when faced with the death of the shaper. The author talks about chapter eleven, the Aquarius chapter. Much of Satre is shown in this chapter. Following his first view of Beowulf, Grendel goes to his cave and âmeditates on his beingâ. Grendel believes that heeds to create a world where he is the center of it. He splits it into two parts, which is things to be murdered and things that would hinder murder. Satreâs ideas are shown in Grendelâs expression of existence, freedom, and possessedness. Grendel becomes an existentialist in this chapter. Grendel has created and order and world without the shaper. The author then begins to discuss chapter twelve, the Pisces chapter, which is the battle between Grendel and Beowulf. Beowulf intends to kill Grendel to bring a new age, whereas Grendel intends to kill Beowulf to âmaintain the kingdom of his fiefdomâ. Beowulf defeats Grendel, only when Grendel produces his first poem. When Gardner speaks of the twelfth chapter, he talks of how poetry is a great accident. Stromme goes into talking about Beowulf and Grendelâs interaction and what it produced. Beowulf has Grendel rid the existentialism and to see the world without a screen. Beowulf beating Grendel turns him into an empiricist. The contact between Beowulf and Grendel creates poetry, Grendel can only truly understand everything about knowledge, truth, and art with contact with reality and giving up his old philosophies. He doesnât reject everything but experience until his head is smashed repeatedly against a wall. Stromme concludes the essay by discussing Grendel aside from its philosophical ideas and astrological relations. Stromme says that just like the cycle of astrology, Grendelâs philosophical journey is nearly circular. The author continues to talk about Grendelâs journey. His journey starts with solipsism and ends with empiricism. He follows up my explaining the difference between the two. The largest difference between solipsism and empiricism is that where empiricism accepts the existence of other objects, solipsism denies the existence of other objects. These two are related historically. An empiricist becomes a solipsist if he questions the existence of external objects. The cycle of astrology is the symbol of the philosophical development and chapter clues. The author then talks about his teachers, the dragon and Beowulf. The dragon is Grendelâs first teacher, and he shows him metaphysics and the beauty of it. Beowulf is Grendelâs last teacher and he shows empiricisms hard truth. Grendel is able to create poetry with his awareness of flaws of the latter. Stromme goes on to say that there is other important journeyâs besides Grendelâs, and that is of the village. The village itself is a main character. They begin as an unimportant village, prosper with the Shaper and Hrothgar, and decline with the fall of a great poet and a great leader. The author continues on the subject of the Shaper. The Shaper sang of the future and helped bring it to the people of the village. The prophecy of the shaper came true when the time for truth was over. The Shaper brings the village growth. Then the author explains the significance of Grendelâs death. The villages decline is signaled in Grendelâs poem. The death of Grendel destroys the remaining great symbol of the âvillages struggle over diversityâ. His death signifies the loss of brute nature. Stromme claims the complete history of manâs progress is the novel. It shows passing of age and birth of the next. I enjoyed Strommeâs essay on the twelve chapters of Grendel. I believe that this essay is worthwhile for literature students. The essay has much more strengths than weaknesses. He provides evidence to backs up his claims, and talks about every chapter. There are multiple strengths in Strommeâs essay. One of the strengths of this essay is that he gave definitions for words or ideas that you may not have any previous knowledge of. For example, he defined Geminiâs and Sophists. These points where he explains what these are give me a better understanding of what he is talking about and the relation to the novel. Another strength of his essay was that his inclusions of excerpts from interviews with Gardner, the author of Grendel. Including these interviews further strengthens his argument of each chapter being an astrological sign. Along with excerpts of interviews, he also includes excerpts from Grendel. This is another one of the strengths of this essay because when he is describing the ideas and astrological relation, he is able to give examples of where it comes from exactly. For example, when Stromme said that Grendel has discovered his role in the new order, he includes an excerpt from Grendel where Grendel talks about his place and his role. Another strength, which I appreciated tremendously, is that his essay was easy to read. When looking for an article to do this paper on, I was stuck between this essay and another essay about the twelve chapters of Grendel. The other essay uses a large amount of big complicated words and left me confused to the point where I gave up on reading it. Another strength was that is organized each chapter is chronological order, and explained each chapter thorough enough to understand how it was related to the astrological signs and/or philosophical ideas. One weakness was that there were two instances where he did not mention which astrological sign pertained to the chapter. Luckily, because he had mentioned that the chapters go in order of the astrological cycle, I was able to correctly place the astrological sign with the chapter. A lot can be earned from the essay. Not only are you learning about the Gardnerâs organizational pattern for Grendel, which is the astrological cycle, you are also getting a better understanding of astrology. This essay also allows you to get a general idea about different physiological ideas, such as Machiavelliâs ideas. I enjoyed reading this article. I have always been interested in astrology and astrological signs. Grendel was a good book, and seeing its relation to astrology made me like the book even more. I would have never guessed that Grendel was based off of the astrology cycle. I can now see its relation to Grendel, and think it is so cool that he based the writing of his story off that.