Peer Pressure Essay

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Peer Pressure In John Gardner’s Grendel, there are a number of influential characters. The most important in particular being the dragon. The dragon is a nefarious character in Chapter Five who states his views to Grendel in order to persuade him into infamy. Grendel doesn’t agree with the dragon at first, but his thoughts of the dragon linger in his head to make him turn later in the book. It may also be possible that the dragon is a figment of Grendel’s imagination and that their meeting was mental, not physical. The dragon’s influence on Grendel is what turned him from an innocent monster into a villain. Grendel is terrified of the dragon when he enters the cave. The dragon pats his head and asks him to speak. Grendel was speechless due to how terrified he was. The dragon then says, “Now you know how they feel when they see you. Eh?” (Page 59.) This is the first influence the dragon has on Grendel. The dragon’s comparison gives Grendel insight on the human point of view. The comparison is important because it makes Grendel think that fear is a human emotion and anything that humans feel, Grendel doesn’t want to experience. The dragon proceeds to laugh at Grendel for an extensive time. The laughter causes Grendel to get angry. “I felt cross all at once, though I didn’t show it.” (Page 59.) Grendel doesn’t speculate on the dragon’s laughter before he gets angry. Grendel’s anger is impulsive because the first thought that comes to his mind is that he just acted like a human. This rekindles Grendel’s hatred for humans. Another important influence on Grendel is when he contemplates leaving humans alone. “From now on I’d stay clear of them. It was one thing to eat one from time to time -- that was only natural: kept them from overpopulating, maybe starving to death, come winter -- but it was another thing to scare them, give them heart attacks, fill their

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