What is the tone of the book Grendel versus the story Beowulf?

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The tone of John Gardner's Grendel, a novel written from the point of view of the title character who is a villainous outcast, is dark without being somber, funny without being light, and plaintive without being maudlin.

At the start of the novel, the reader meets Grendel as a young monster, as vulnerable and fearful as any infant of any species, and from this sympathetic time of life onwards, Grendel grows up to fear and ridicule the warriors who are presented so heroically in Beowulf. Gardner's presentation of a protagonist experiencing this combination of emotions is clever; often, really scary individuals or events are...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 323 words.)

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