Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Beowulf Beef

The Prude’s high school English class has a beef with Beowulf.
They don’t mind that the author consistently tells us what will happen before it actually occurs.
They like the alliteration and they can comprehend the kennings.
Their intelligence can handle the meandering of historical insertions and they were patient with Beowulf’s never ever ending death scene.

But the author really let us down when he ran out of blood, guts and gore sometime after the slaughter of Grendal’s mother.
Any high schooler knows a good writer shouldn't peak too early.
Don’t give the reader copious amounts of gushing innards at the beginning of the story and then retreat to tossed-off references about bloody water late in game.

By the time poor old desperately-trying-to-regain-his-youth Beowulf is fighting the
dragon, our author also seems to have run out of steam.  The slashing, the limb-tearing, the bodily-fluids spurting is discreetly minimalistic.

It’s almost as though the writer wanted to restrain himself, and focus on the pathos of the dying king and his faithful thane instead of indulging readers in the delights of melting brain matter and severed sinews.

Pathos is all very nice in small doses. But The Prude’s English class knows that it should never overpower the glory of gore.


Lori Lipsky said...

I can tell you raised three boys, Prude. lol

"Slashing, limb-tearing and severed sinews" oh my!

ScheltyDebate said...

Majority boys in your class, eh? ;)