11th Grade Honors English Summer Reading Assignment Central Dauphin East High School Required Reading: Beowulf- Anonymous Grendel-John Gardner Directions: Get brief, easy-to-understand definitions and write sentences for each of the following words. These are due the first day upon your return to school. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. Note: omen fate mead sentinel shroud (v.) reprisal oppress writhe loathsome gape (v.) resound pyre hoard (n.) & (v.) brood (v.) stately hilt fettered (adj.) exult imperious sack 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38. 39. 40. pagan reproach cavernous malice herald (v.) heathen nihilism existentialism belligerent infallible petulant demented blight (n.) & (v.) tedium decorum inexorable dogmatic blasphemy purge dismal You must read Beowulf first in order to understand Grendel. Also note that you do not need to pay attention the multitude of names given in Beowulf. The only key names to pay attention to are Beowulf, King Hrothgar, Grendel, and Unferth (near the end). Trying to remember all of the names will drive you crazy. However, you should pay attention to the moral lessons revealed when side stories are told about other kings and warriors (good and bad). Questions to Consider The following questions will help you prepare for any tests or papers upon your return to school. Completing these are beneficial both for discussions of the books and for subsequent tests and papers. These will be graded. Please write your answers in complete sentences on a separate sheet of paper. Beowulf Questions 1. Since no definitive description of Grendel exists, what do you imagine Grendel looks like? What clues in the book suggest his appearance? 2. When the Viking legend of Beowulf was finally written down by an English monk in 800 A.D., it was a time when pagan cultures were meshing with the dominant Christian culture. Therefore, Christian concepts were incorporated into this legend about a pagan hero. What values of Christianity does Beowulf embody? What does Fate represent to Beowulf? 3. What qualities of Grendel and his mother make them seem more human than animal? 4. Beowulf has many heroic qualities. Cite several and explain how you know this about him (i.e. what actions or words made you draw this conclusion). 5. Although Beowulf is heroic, some modern readers see negative qualities in him. What are some of these negative qualities? 6. One could argue that the “monsters” in Beowulf (Grendel, Grendel’s mother, and the dragon) are merely facets of the dark side of humanity. Explain what negative traits each represents. 7. After reading Beowulf, what qualities can you assume the Anglo-Saxons valued in a leader? Are these values still respected today? 8. What purpose(s) did the teller of this tale have in recounting it? Political? Historical? Religious or cultural indoctrination? Entertainment? Grendel Questions 1. How does Grendel’s philosophy about life change after his visit to the dragon? 2. What does the dragon represent? 3. What is the Shaper’s purpose? Why is Grendel so enamored by the Shaper’s songs and visions? 4. Why does Grendel become angry with the shaper after his visit with the dragon? 5. Why does the dragon consider humans (and Grendel) inferior creatures? (Reread pages 59-69). 6. Grendel decides to play games with Unferth and let him forever remain a coward. Reread their discussions about heroism and poetry on pages 83-90. What do Grendel and Unferth reveal about heroism?