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1st Student's Major

English

1st Student's College

Arts and Humanities

Students' Professional Biography

Emily Bartz is an English Literature student from Pretoria, South Africa. She grew up in the Philippines and United States and attended Faith Academy, an international school for missionary children. During her junior year, Emily studied abroad at King‟s College London. She was awarded the Norman Adams Award for Excellence in English in 2008 and 2009. In 2010, she was awarded the Youel I Award. She graduated from Minnesota State University, Mankato May 2010. In the future, she hopes to teach university-level English in Africa or Asia.

Mentor's Name

Mary Susan Johnston

Mentor's Email Address

mary.johnston@mnsu.edu

Mentor's Department

English

Mentor's College

Arts and Humanities

Abstract

Beowulf is an Anglo-Saxon epic poem translated into Modern English in 2000 by Samus Heaney. My paper hypothesis that the central conflict of Beowulf is the struggle between the decentralising and supernatural ways of the ancients (Shield Sheafson, Gendel, and Grendel's Mother) and the centralising and corporeal values of modern heroes (Hrothgar, Beowulf, and Wiglaf). The poet traces a definitive move away from the ancient's pagan heroic values to his own Christian heroic values. However, as in the poet's contemporary culture, certain pagan traditions, such as familial fidelity, persist in Beowulf. The poet's audience, the Anglo-Saxons, honoured their pagan ancestors through story telling. The Christian leadership discouraged story telling since their ancestors were pagan and thus beyond salvation. The poet needed a subtle means of dealing with the obviously pagan and foreign content of the Ur-Beowulf. In Beowulf, he simultaneously acknowledges God's will and the heroism of their Norse ancestors. In addition, since the poet had a limited knowledge of Germanic and Norse life, he tells the story through his own Anglo-Saxon perspective.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

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