Things I am thinking about lately...
1. Could Grendel be considered a sort of early Jason Voorhees?
Jason Voorhees was a deformed, mentally handicapped child. In the early middle ages, when Beowulf was written, children who were born with deformities or handicaps, mental or otherwise, were considered monsters born out of curses, which is exactly what Grendel was. Scholars believe that the characters of Grendel and his mother could have been based on a real mother and deformed child who became legendary in Anglo-Saxon folklore. The role of the mother also connects back to Beowulf in that Grendel's mother was an important part of the story, just like Jason's mother who went on a killing spree to avenge her murdered son, just like Grendel's mother.
Jason Voorhees' murderous rampage are primarily thought to be embedded in revenge, but I also see it in another way. All of the teenagers Jason murders are sinners and bad people. They trespass into the woods to drink, do drugs and fuck, and generally stir up some mischief. It is also implied that a lot of them are snobs and jerks, the sort of person who definitely would not be welcoming or friendly to a deformed, mentally handicapped peer. By murdering these people, Jason is only doing a civic duty by ridding the world of such awful people. Grendel came down to Heorot while the Danes were drinking, being raucous and disturbing. While I've never read anything about drinking and merriment being cause for punishment in Pre-Christian Anglo-Saxon culture, perhaps there was some other activity going on that was cause for alarm, considered ignoble and crass? And even if there wasn't, Grendel was definitely seeking revenge on the people who made him an outcast and refused to accept him, just like Jason Voorhees.
2. Who are Homer's Cyclopes based on? Who are the Lotus Eaters?
The Cyclopes are brutish, barbaric men who have no common morals or laws and no reverence for anyone except themselves, not even the Gods. I wonder if this could have been a real island community in Homer's day? They probably didn't have one eye, but maybe there was a tribe of some sort who would gouge out an eye as a coming of age event or a beauty tradition? Another ancient writer based his Cyclopes on ancient blacksmiths, who wore an eye patch on one eye so they would only go blind in the unexposed eye. An anthropologist proposed that the ancient Greeks just assumed that Cyclopes were real at one time, basing these beliefs in small elephant skulls, the remains of the creatures that once lived on the Greek islands.
The Lotus Eaters have a very small role in the Odyssey but they are very interesting. They live inland somewhere and are friendly and small, and all day long they eat the potent Lotus. They give some to Odysseus' men and they instantly forget Ithaca and wish to stay there forever. I read an appendix once that said scholars believe the location of these Lotus Eaters was the coast of Ethiopia, and the Lotus was actually cannabis.
4. I've been waiting since the first week of July to hear back from UCCS about my acceptance. I should find out Friday, which is ridiculous because classes start the following Monday. I can't imagine starting 6 courses without any of the required books, but it looks like I may have to. In the event that I am not accepted, or that I am unable to enter into the Fall semester I don't know what I will do, but if Josh is leaving soon then there isn't much here keeping me around, and I hate the idea of being away from him for close to two years instead of the close to one and a half like was the original plan. I am very anxious about all of this.