Grendel

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For use in schools and libraries only. The Beowulf story retold from the monster's point of view reveals the darker side of human nature and values.
Curriculet Details
65 Questions
55 Annotations
3 Quizzes

Designed for students in 9-10 grade, this free digital curriculum contains annotations explaining figurative language such as similes and metaphors, the themes of the pain of isolation and sound devices such as alliteration. It also contains interactive videos that support comprehension, such as videos about Grendel's death and the difference between similes and metaphors. Over the course of the book, students will answer Common Core questions and quizzes related to the subjects of plot elements, writing technique, and theme. This free online unit will increase student engagement while building reading comprehension.

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Chapter 1

Using this simile, the author compares the ram to a ruler who is past his prime. Watch this video to learn more about similes and metaphors. (This annotation contains a video)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.4
This sentence is an example of which of the following literary devices? 
The setting of the narrator's home evokes an emotion in the mind of the reader, often called mood. See the below video to learn more about mood. (This annotation contains a video)
This event foreshadows the end of the story. Grendel will be poised above a dark chasm again. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.9
The original poem, Beowulf, was told with a third person point of view, focusing on the Danes and the Geats. In the original poem, the reader never knows the thoughts of Grendel. What point of view is used in this story? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1
Based upon how the natural world reacts to him, what can we infer about the narrator? 
For the first time, the reader is given a clue as to who the narrator is. In the epic poem "Beowulf," Hrothgar is a king who is attacked by a monster, called Grendel. This monster attacked the home of Hrothgar, killing many of his men. (This annotation contains a link)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.2
Based on what has occurred so far in the text, what is the narrator doing to the people of Hrothgar's village? 

Chapter 2

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.5
In this scene, the writer uses the technique of flashback as he describes a scene that takes place earlier than the main plot. What clues can the reader use to identify that this scene takes place earlier than the last chapter? Use textual evidence to support your response. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.5
When Grendel is trapped in the tree, he calls for his mother. The writer uses the words such as "sobbed," "bellowed," and "yelled" to describe how Grendel asks for help. What effect do these words have on the mind of the reader? 
The narrator's interactions with the bull represent external conflict, specifically, man vs. nature. See the below video to learn about types of conflict. (This annotation contains a video)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3
Which of the following answers is not one way the narrator knows that he is smarter than the bull? 
This passage represents the emergence of a theme in the text. The narrator perceives himself as alone in the world, and he finds this isolation painful. See the below video to better understand the concept of theme. (This annotation contains a video)
Here, as Grendel meets mankind for the first time, the author introduces a theme: that of nature's superiority to mankind. This theme will continue throughout the story, as the narrator sees himself as part of nature and therefore superior. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3
The narrator describes this encounter as his first encounter with humans. Based on how Grendel describes the humans, how can you characterize the Danes, Hrothgar's tribe? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.5
What type of conflict does the narrator describe here? 

Chapter 3

In this chapter, the author uses foreshadowing to give the reader a hint of what will occur, namely that Grendel will ruin Hrothgar slowly and cruelly. Next, the author explains why Grendel decides he must destroy Hrothgar. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1
What clues does the author use to let the reader know that the men are primitive at first? 
Here again, as Grendel huddles outside the mead hall, the reader can see the development of the theme of isolation being painful. 
Grendel expresses here that wolves are superior to man, developing the theme that nature is superior to mankind. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3
How does Grendel deal with the men who are exiled from the mead hall? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.2
Based on what Grendel finds at the ruined mead hall, what is the true motivation of the men who destroyed it? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.4
This passage is an example of what type of literary device? 
As Grendel sees himself as part of nature, he believes he is superior to man. This description furthers the theme of the superiority of nature over mankind. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3
How is Hrothgar different from the other kings? 
By describing Hrothgar's realm as a wheel, the author implies that Hrothgar is at the center of that wheel, emphasizing the importance of Hrothgar. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.2
As Grendel believes in the superiority of nature over mankind, his horror at mankind's destruction of nature becomes clear to the reader. According to this paragraph, what is one way mankind is destroying nature? Use textual evidence to support your claim. 
This chant comes directly from the epic poem, "Beowulf." The character of the harper that Grendel calls the Shaper will be important to the story. The author implies that it was Shaper who wrote the poem Beowulf. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3
How has the new harper changed Grendel? 
A new theme emerges: the importance of stories, as the character of the harper named Shaper is introduced. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3
By the end of the chapter, Grendel feels he has changed. Why does Grendel feel "torn apart by poetry"? Use textual evidence to support your claim. 
Chapters 1-3 

Chapter 4

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1
How is Grendel similar to "the richest of kings"? 
Here we can begin to imagine Hrothgar's home, Heorot, that Grendel terrorizes in the poem "Beowulf." (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.2
What theme is represented in this sentence? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1
What, specifically, is the harper reshaping? 
Just as Grendel thinks the thanes are actually better than he is, he finds a murdered man. Even though the thanes think they are on the side of right, this passage shows they have not changed. 
The shaper's tale is an allusion, or reference, to the biblical tale of Cain and Abel. Because Cain kills his brother, he is cursed by God. Note that this allusion is also in the original poem, Beowulf. (This annotation contains a link)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3
Why does Grendel approach the thanes? Use textual evidence to support your response. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.2
Which of the following themes is represented in this passage? 
Even as the theme of the importance of stories is represented here, the story itself is a lie. This foreshadows the idea that any stories about Grendel will themselves be lies. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.2
The passage represents which of the following themes? 

Chapter 5

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.4
What literary device does the writer use in this passage? 
For the first time, Grendel can have some empathy for the humans, as he finally meets a being he sees as superior, the dragon. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1
What did Grendel do that enraged the dragon? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.4
Why does the dragon say, "So much for free will"? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.2
When the dragon describes humans here, which theme is being developed? 
Again, the theme of the importance of storytelling is evident--without the Shaper's stories, they would not keep going. 
Each time the dragon tries to explain something to Grendel, he realizes the concept is too advanced for Grendel to understand. Finally, the dragon is reduced to demonstrating using an object. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1
Why does the dragon say Grendel is important to mankind? 

Chapter 6

The dragon is truly an inciting incident to the plot. An inciting incident begins the conflict of the story and also represents the start of the rising action.  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.4
Using context clues, what is the meaning of the word invulnerable in the highlighted sentence? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.2
Which of the following themes is best represented by the highlighted passage? 
The juxtaposition of a "wise king" who has food in his beard is an example of situational irony. See this video below to learn more about this literary device. (This annotation contains a video)
This gruesome detail is an example of imagery. By combing such words as "crunched," "jerking, blood-slippery" and "hot, thick geyser," the reader can feel the terror of the watching humans. See below for more information about imagery, also known as sensory details.  (This annotation contains a video)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1
What is the emotional effect of the imagery of this passage? Use textual evidence to support your response. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.2
To whom is Grendel referring to in this sentence? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3
In this extended metaphor, what is Unferth being compared to? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.2
What theme is represented here? 
Here Unferth confirms what Grendel suspects, that even as stories are important, they are lies. 
This comment is key as it explains how the Shaper and indeed all of humanity view heroism. Grendel does not understand. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.4
What type of irony is this? 

Chapter 7

Note how the form of the text changes in this chapter. Now, Grendel is doing more than simply telling a story, he is shaping the text to his own devices.  
Note that here, Grendel explains to the reader that he is not killing at will, but rather, is trying to portion out destruction, to make it last longer. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3
Who is the "nature lover" to whom Grendel refers? 
As Hrothgar and his men are at the mead hall to slaughter Hygmod, this speech is an example of verbal irony. See below for more details about this type of irony.  (This annotation contains a video)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3
The writer chooses to use a simile to compare the noise of the crowd to a wave that retreats. Why do you think he chooses to use this simile? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.5
Why would the beauty of the queen "tear [Grendel] apart"? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3
Which two women does Grendel compare? 
Although Unferth's past, his "demon," has been exorcised, Grendel knows the thanes will never forgive him. This line emphasizes the theme of the pain of isolation. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.2
Based on the story so far, how do the Helmings treat the bear? 
This metaphor tells the reader that the queen's brother hates Hrothgar. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3
What motivates Grendel in this section? 
By adding these words, Grendel is playing with language. He infers that he is changing scenes, much like a movie director would, and shapes his story. 

Chapter 8

Note the continuation of a play or script like structure to the writing. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.4
What effect does the figurative language have on the reader? 
These similes, comparing the common man to "bony dogs" or "crows" imply that the king does not respect them. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3
What other character in the story has killed everything but "itself and its highbourne guests"? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.2
What is Red Horse suggesting here? 
Here Red Horse unknowingly compares Hrothgar to the tree that kills all it overshadows. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1
How does Red Horse justify revolution? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1
Of all the dangers that surround him, which does Hrothgar consider the worst? 
This metaphor, comparing civilization to a forest, helps the reader anticipate that a list of dangers will be described next in the text. 
Hrothgar's dream of two trees grown into one that are split apart by an axe foreshadows the destruction of what he has created. 
Chapter 4-8 

Chapter 9

Note the repeated "d" sound at the beginning of words in this section. This repetition of initial consonant sounds is called alliteration. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.4
What sound device is reflected in this line? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.2
At this point in the paragraph, what is the relationship between the deer and the hunter? 
At this point in the story, Grendel realizes that nature may no longer be superior to mankind. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1
Why would the people believe that that the gods have no life in them? 
Note that Grendel spent more time describing the stone gods and their destruction and only one line discussing how he has eaten the priests. Also, this line is separate from the rest of the text.  
Here, the priest is unknowingly repeating the same thing that both Grendel and the dragon have stated earlier--that his evil is what pushes mankind to improve. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3
How do you know that Ork actually is the wisest of all the priests? 
At this point, we realize that even the youngest priest does not believe Ork. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.2
How does this selection demonstrate the theme of nature's superiority over mankind? 

Chapter 10

By giving the sun, an inanimate object, human characteristics, the author uses the technique of personification. 
By repeating that "it is the business of goats to climb," the author is suggesting that it is difficult to change your nature. Soon, he will demonstrate this with both Grendel and the men in the village. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.4
What literary device is evident in this sentence? 
Here is the first reference to Beowulf, the hero who will ultimately come to kill Grendel. These sentences also demonstrate the theme of the importance of storytelling, as they give hope to the children. Unlike the original poem, Beowulf is never named in this story. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1
Why are the children "gone forever"? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.2
What theme is evident here? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1
Why doesn't Grendel kill the woman? 
Grendel realizes that the Shaper has reshaped the world, making all Grendel has done meaningless. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1
With this statement, Grendel makes equal two people. Who are they? 

Chapter 11

Although Grendel is excited, what is coming is his own foreshadowed doom. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.4
What literary device is used here? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3
By implying that his words and his body are not working together, what does Grendel suspect about Beowulf? 
Here, Grendel hints that he is ready to die. He is bored with his life, much as the dragon predicted. 
Grendel realizes that he is alone, that even his mother only loves him for being her son, not for who he is himself. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3
Why does Grendel say he wants to kill Beowulf? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.4
Based on the story Unferth tells the group about Beowulf, is Unferth really being friendly? 
Throughout the years, Unferth has lost his heroic view of the world.  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.4
What is Grendel saying here? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1
Based on the textual evidence foreshadowed, "it is time" for what? 

Chapter 12

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.5
What literary device is used here to describe the planks? 
By tying a napkin around his neck, Grendel is implying he is equal to men. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.7
What is different, between the movie version and the story version of how Grendel loses his arm? 
Watch this short video about how Grendel loses his arm in the 2007 movie Beowulf.  (This annotation contains a video)
Note that Beowulf echoes the dragon in this speech. Both he and the dragon are the only two beings to actually talk to Grendel. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1
Whose words have betrayed Grendel before? 
Here, Grendel is the Shaper, as he tells a poem foreshadowing the destruction of Hrothgar's halls. 
Again, Beowulf is described as similar to the dragon. 
Ch 9-12