Throughout the novel Grendel by John Gardner, the main character Grendel is searching for answers about life, most importantly the meaning of life. He is confused with how he wants to view life and searches for some reason to why he exists. He turned too many for these answers; his mother, man, and the dragon, but no one could provide Grendel the answer he so desperately sought, all just pushed him to the idea of existentialism.
Grendel’s first impression was to ask his mother about the meaning of life and what was his part in it. After Grendel’s first encounter with man, he immediately told his mother what had happened. “I tried to tell her all that happened, all that I had come to understand: the meaningless objectiveness of the world…She only stared troubled at my noise”. However, she had lost her ability to speak years ago and only responded with gibberish, not once giving him an answer. Instead when he said, “the world is all pointless accident…I exist nothing else”, she hurried over and seized him pulling him close to her. Realizing that his mother probably doesn’t understand, Grendel was forced to turn to some one else for the answers he needed, so he turned to man.
Grendel became fascinated with man at an early age. He watched as their population grew, he watched the wars they waged, and the celebrations they had at night. He watched their senseless killing, their wastefulness, and he learned some new words from them. He seemed to look at man as his teacher and deep down it appeared that he wanted to become a man himself for they had found some kind of meaning. He did make a couple of futile attempts to befriend man. Often he approached the exiled, but in the end he “had to eat them for they were treacherous”. In Grendel’s last attempt to become part of mans society, he “staggered out into the open and up toward the hall with my burden, groaning out, “Mercy! Peace!” The Harper broke off, the people screamed. Drunken men rushed me with battle-axes. I sank to my knees, crying, “Friend! Friend!” They hacked at me, yipping like dogs. I held up the body for protection.” In the end man was too afraid of Grendel to befriend him, so they tried killing him and would have succeeded if Grendel gave them the chance. So now Grendel, not getting any answers from his mother or man he is forced...