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passage into heaven Paganistic Beliefs in Beowolf

The epic poem Beowolf is one of the founding pieces of literature known to man. The author of the poem is unknown. It is believed that he was a monk or someone of the Christian faith. Although during the time of Beowolf there would not have been Christian beliefs. Although in the poem there are more than twenty-five lines of references to the Christian belief. The poem is about good vs. evil, or the heavens vs. hell. Paganistic implications are also in the poem. Paganism would be the true religion in the time when this poem was written, or first told. An idolatrous person is a pagan. A pagan is someone who worships many gods. Pagans believe in fate. They think that your life is inevitably happening as though it has already been determined by a higher source or power. Which religion, paganism or Christianity, is more dominant and decides more in the poem Beowolf.
In Beowolf Grendel is described as a powerful, murderous, loathsome man-eating monster that lives at the bottom of a foul mountain lake. In the poem Grendel is portrayed as one of the devil's creature or the devil himself. The following passage shows us how Grendel was born in evil;
Conceived by a pair of those monsters born
Of Cain, murderous creatures banished
By God, punished forever for the crime
Of Abel's death....(20-23)
Grendel is a horrifying creature.  If he feels love, it is only that of killing people and drinking their blood. There is never a passage describing him as any type of a good being. He is always referred to as a demon, monster, or evil savage. In today's society when anyone thinks of the devil they

Kirkland2
think of dark, gloomy, grotesque places or settings. In the poem Beowolf the only time that Grendel comes out is when there are these same type of settings. This is one description of where Grendel stalked;
That shadow of death hunted in darkness,
Stalked Hrothgar's warriors, old
And young, lying in waiting, hidden
In mist, invisibly following them from the edge
Of the marsh, always there, unseen.(74-78)
Here is another more descriptive passage, "Out from the marsh, from the foot of misty/Hills and bogs, bearing God's Hatred, Grendel came,..."(92-94). When referred to in the bible the devil is everyone's enemy. In this line Grendel is referred to in the same perspective, "So mankind's enemy continued his crimes, "(79). The devil is also thought of as the one and only who is against God and his people. The devil is known to tempt people to do sinful or wrongful things. It is almost like a battle between the devil and the people of the Christian belief. Here is a reference to that battle as if Grendel is the devil, "So Grendel ruled, fought with the righteous,/One against many, and won;..."(59-60). Good also wins a fight in the poem. When Beowolf is battling Grendel, it is as if God is battling the devil. This is seen in these passages,
Screams of the Almighty's enemy sang
In the darkness, the horrible shrieks of pain
And defeat, the tears torn out of Grendel's
Taut throat, hell's captive caught in the arms
Of him who of all the men on earth

Kirkland3
Was the strongest.(467-472)
In the battle between Grendel and Beowolf a paganistic belief comes into play. The death of Grendel is said to be controlled by fate. The poem reads, "...But fate, that night, intended/Grendel to gnaw the broken bones/Of his last human supper...."(416-418). Then a few lines later Christian thoughts are brought back when describing the death of Grendel. Like in these lines, "And yet his time had come, his days/Were over, his death near; down/To hell he would go,..."(486-488). The question arises, is Grendel's death controlled by a paganistic destiny or the Christian belief of what life brings you. Since Grendel was a son Cain, which is a Christian belief, the reader should think that Grendels death was one without fate and only the sinful death he deserved.
The death of Beowolf is much like that of Grendel. They are both described in paganistic and Christian ways. The pagans believe that their life has already ... more

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Hemingway and Camus: Construction of Meaning and Truth

Once we knew that literature was about life and criticism was about fiction--and everything was simple. Now we know that fiction is about other fiction, is criticism in fact, or metaphor. And we know that criticism is about the impossibility of anything being about life, really, or even about fiction, or finally about anything. Criticism has taken the very idea of "aboutness" away from us. It has taught us that language is tautological, if it is not nonsense, and to the extent that it is about anything it is about itself.-Robert Scholes One of the fascinations of reading literature comes when we discover in a work patterns that have heretofore been overlooked. We are the pattern finders who get deep enjoyment from the discovery of patterns in a text. And true to the calling we have noticed a pattern in and around A Farewell to Arms which, to our knowledge, no one has seen before. Although there are many editions of the novel, and as a result the pagination is slightly different in various editions, it is the case that all editions have forty-one chapters to be found in five books. Here is what we have discovered: if you multiply 41 by 5 you get 205. And now if you take the number of letters in Frederic's name (8) and add that to the number of letters in Catherine's name (9) you get 17. 205 + 17 = 222. And if you grant that the time of the events in the novel, counted properly, is three years, then the pattern we have discovered starts to emerge as figure on ground or as lemon juice ink on a secret message when held over a candle. For what is the product of 222 and 3 but the infamous 666 of Revelations 13:18? Imagine now our delight when we discovered a similar 666 pattern in The Outsider. If you multiply the number of letters in Meursault's name times the number of letters in `Albert' times the number of letters in `Arab' you get 216. Add to that the 6 of `Albert' and multiply by 3 (which is the number one gets when dividing the number of chapters in Part one (6) by the number of books (2) that make up The Outsider) and surprise of surprises: the meaning revealing number `666' once again emerges! Clearly, when seen in this light, these two novels take on new meaning, and this pattern discovery provides a conclusive way to counter all earlier critics who have failed to see this talisman of interpretation, this key to understanding the complexities of Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms and Camus's The Outsider. `666' offers a key to understanding in that it clearly refers us back to the text which these texts are "playing" with and are in some way about, if "aboutness" is a viable concept and if they are about anything at all. "Wait a minute, here!" shouts Bickford Sylvester, "there is some nonsense even Hemingway scholars will not condone." And of course this pattern of 666 is a bit of nonsense which could be discovered almost anywhere by someone forcing the facts into the pattern. Good 666 sleuths can find that devilish number anywhere; if you don't believe us just ask the soap company. But what are the legitimate limits to interpretations? Does anything count? How can we know when the interpretation we are working on or reading has slipped into the realm of nonsense? There are facts to be observed by the act of looking at the text and then there are interpretations to be deduced using those facts plus everything else one knows about what counts as a fact and what is to be counted as important in producing a coherent and consistent reading. Just as there are different interpretations of quantum theory which must deal with the same facts (taking a fact to be what is) there are different interpretations of A Farewell to Arms and The Outsider. In fact, the difference between science and art may be teased out just here: when a scientific interpretation becomes the accepted one it achieves a privileged status (e.g., evolution), but in ... more

passage into heaven

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