Author: Burton Raffel
Genre: Classics, Poetry, Action, Epic Hero
My Rating: 1 Star
Composed toward the end of the first millennium, Beowulf is the classic Northern epic of a hero’s triumphs as a young warrior and his fated death as a defender of his people. The poem is about encountering the monstrous, defeating it, and then having to live on, physically and psychically exposed in the exhausted aftermath. It is not hard to draw parallels in this story to the historical curve of consciousness in the twentieth century, but the poem also transcends such considerations, telling us psychological and spiritual truths that are permanent and liberating.
Before Reading Beowulf
I have to read this for my AP Lit summer homework and I really don’t want to read it. It’s just not something I can enjoy. Ugh!
After Reading Beowulf
I expected to hate this book, and I was right. It was a totally MISERABLE read. I could not wait to be finished with it. I dreaded starting this book and if it wasn’t required reading for my AP Lit class, I would have DNF’d it right away.
“No female, no matter how fierce, could have come with a man’s strength, fought with the power and courage men fight with…” (Lines 1282-1284)
First, I get that it’s old. Really, really old. So old there’s no known author, but I was so frustrated with the way women were treated and spoken of. I get that that’s how things were, but that doesn’t mean I can’t be upset by it. And I was. And, in all honestly, Grendel’s mother was pretty fierce and despite her being the bad guy, I liked her more than Beowulf.
“And how great a sin for a women, whether fair or black, to create fear and destruction, for a women, who should walk in the ways of peace…” (Lines 1940-1944)
Of course, I totally hated Beowulf. All he wanted was fame, and I just wasn’t down with that. And come on, did they really have to go on and on and on about how heroic he is? I got it the first time, thanks.
I may not have appreciated the book the way others do, and I don’t care. I just do not like this book. I don’t care what historic value it has or how important it is to literature. Not.my.type.of.book. Not something I would ever enjoy.
Unfortunately, I have to study and prepare to be tested in on it next month. Yikes. (This is probably the angstiest and most ranty book review I’ve ever written.)