Journal Assignments
Section divisions are based on the Burton Raffel translation.

Journal 1: Retell the events in Sections 1-5 from the coast guard's point of view. Consider how he feels about the importance of his job, the desperate situation in his country, and the arrival of these fearsome foreign warriors.

Journal 2: Consider the events in Sections 5-7 from Beowulf's point of view. Write a diary entry giving his reasons for coming, his first impressions of Heorot, and his reaction to Hrothgar's greeting

Journal 3: Write a brag for Beowulf, based on the information in Sections 8-10. Use first person, "I" narrative format. Include information about his background, his other great battles, etc. Remember that a brag uses strongly rhythmic, exaggerated speech. (See example of Mike Fink's brag.)

Journal 4: Write a complete description of Grendel, using details given in Sections 11-13 and adding others from your own imagination. Be sure to include alliteration and kennings in your description.

Journal 5: Write a paragraph describing Heorot as it is pictured in Sections 14-15. Use your own words.

Journal 6: Summarize the events told in "The Lay of the Finn," Sections 16-17.

Journal 7: Sections 18-20 focus on the celebration at Heorot. Write a stream-of-consciousness narrative from Wealhtheow's point of view. You should include her impression of everything to this point, her hopes for the future, her reactions to Beowulf's first battle, her response to the celebration, and so on.

Journal 8: Retell the events in Sections 21-25 from Unferth's point of view. Consider his background, his original jealousy of Beowulf, his own fears, and his change in attitude.

Journal 9: Sections 26-31 are almost a summary of Beowulf's journey. Rewrite them as a formal report to Hygelac, using formal language, like a soldier reporting to his commander. Obviously, you would stick to the facts, avoiding figurative language and exaggeration.

Journal 10: Retell the events in Sections 32-35 in the form of a film script. Include specific camera and lighting directions, as well as dialogue. Try to capture the atmosphere of the scene.

Journal 11: Imagine that you are Wiglaf telling his children about the events in Sections 36-39, years later. Use informal narrative style. Try to imagine how he would describe to his children his own part in this episode.

Journal 12: Summarize the message given in Sections 40-41, explaining why the herald speaks of past and future events, as well as of the present.

Journal 13: Assume that you are one of the knights who attended Beowulf's funeral, described in Sections 42-43. Write a letter home, giving your family all the factual detail, but also including your personal feelings at the scene.

Journal 14: The tale of Beowulf is told, yet for his memory to live on, a poet must be found who can tell us his story and make us understand its meaning. Be that poet. You may use ballad format, another regular poetic form, or free verse.

Journal 15: Everything old is new again and we're not so different from the ancient scops who sought to mourn their losses and to immortalize their heroes. Drawing upon the elegiac and/or the heroic tradition, write an original poem to a relevant current event. You might choose the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building bombing (April 19, 1995), The Ma y 3 Tornado (1999), or the many tragedies of September 11, 2001. You may use whatever form seems most appropriate ­ traditional or free verse, but try to capture the appropriate tone.

Useful Websites ­ Let the images inspire your own imagery.

Oklahoma City National Memorial

The History Channel's The 9/11 Year

Formula Poems

Writing a Period Ballad

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Updated 10 July 2006.