Quotes

Isolation

Quotes Isolation
“Why can’t these creatures discover a little dignity?” I ask the sky. The sky says nothing, predictably. I make a face, uplift a defiant middle finger, and give an obscene little kick. The sky ignores me, forever unimpressed.

As Grendel rages against the ram’s stupidity, he addresses the sky as he has no one else to talk to. He knows before he says anything that he won’t receive an answer but still becomes angry with the sky when he hears no reply. Although Grendel’s ability to talk when others around him can’t may seem like a benefit, the fact that he has no one to actually talk to only makes him feel his isolation from others more acutely.

“Why can’t I have someone to talk to?” I said. The stars said nothing, but I pretended to ignore the rudeness. “The Shaper has people to talk to,” I said. I wrung my fingers. “Hrothgar has people to talk to.”

After Hrothgar’s men chase Grendel out of the town when he tries to approach them as a friend, he laments to the sky that he has no one to talk to while the men have each other. Although the men see Grendel as a monster, he sees Hrothgar as violent and the Shaper as a liar, so he does not understand what makes them more deserving of companionship. Part of why Grendel can’t connect with humans is that he never has before, so he does not know how to appear friendly.

I could walk up to the meadhall whenever I pleased, and they were powerless. My heart became darker because of that. Though I scorned them, sometimes hated them, there had been something between myself and men when we could fight. Now, invulnerable, I was as solitary as one live tree in a vast landscape of coal.

After the dragon puts a charm on Grendel so that no one can harm him, he can easily destroy the men without fear of them killing him. This would usually seem like a good thing, but Grendel misses being able to fight with men. Even though the fighting was violent, it was still some form of contact with humans, still a moment in which he felt acknowledged somehow, which made Grendel feel less alone. However, now that he cannot interact with humans in that way, he feels more alone than ever.