John Gardner's novel Grendel gives the reader a new perspective on the classic "Good vs. From the start of the novel, the reader can tell that there is something is unique about the narrator. It is evident that the narrator has an observant personality, which can express Grendel in a poetic manner. The story is one the reader has most likely seen before, the battle between the glorious men (Thanes) and the "evil- beast. In this case, however, the "beast- is the eyes and ears of the reader. This, of course, forces the reader to analyze situations in the book in the same way that Grendel does. By using this viewpoint, the author allows his readers to see the other side of the coin. Therefore, throughout the course of the novel, the reader is able to understand how important Grendel is in defining the humans. .
Grendel's first encounter with humans is plainly defined as not pleasant. After accidentally trapping himself in a tree, Grendel is discovered by a group of men out on patrol. Grendel expresses absolutely no hostile intentions towards these "ridiculous- (Gardner, p.24) creatures that "moved by clicks-. (Gardner, p.24) The men do not understand what Grendel is and are very nervous about the whole situation. Like animals, they are frightened of anything that is different from what they are accustomed. When Grendel attempts to communicate, they show their ignorance and simple-mindedness. Instead of taking the time to understand the anomaly in their world, they panic and decide to destroy it. Grendel is the go-between of twenty-five centuries of philosophy because he is not human. Grendel has no vested interest in any one philosophy; he is searching for the best way to live in the world' (Nihilism website; middle of article). (Without being able to view the story from Grendel's point of view, the reader might assume that the humans had every right to attack). .
Another example of the same type of simple-mindedness is their second premature attack on Grendel.