The Catch 22 of Discrimination and Dilemmas

Currently, our world is plagued by various Global issues that put our mere existence in jeopardy. The two leading global problems that are recurring themes in Chapter 5 of Grendel are discrimination and effect on mental health.

Discrimination is present at every corner of Earth. From developing countries to the leading nations, all have an aspect of discrimination in their society. According to an article published by the National Public Radio, “over 92% of African Americans in the United States have personally faced discrimination in the past year”. This statistic clearly shows the discrimination that is present. The United States is one of the leading nations in the world, politically and economically. However, the presence of racial discrimination still affects society. The discrimination portrays an injustice where a group, in this case, African Americans, are belittled. This discrimination is also shown in Chapter 5 of Grendel. As well established in the previous chapters, Grendel wants nothing more than to be accepted by humans. When he encountered the dragon, he was told to “seek gold and sit on it” (Gardner 88). This quote represents the nature of not only the dragon’s perspective but how society sees Grendel. The action of seeking gold and sitting on it is a depiction of what the dragon wants Grendel to do, as in finding a tangible item that he likes and protecting it. The dragon knows that whatever anyone does will be forgotten after they die. This affects Grendel as he wants more than anything to be remembered, to be a significant figure in society. Eventually, he slowly comes to realize that his appearance would still be the barrier between.

Another global issue that is prevalent in society is the problem of mental health. The common misconception is that mental health regards purely upon dementia, Alzheimer ETC. However, it also factors in the psychological trauma and oppression that many individuals face.
According to a study conducted by The University of Stavanger, “33% of all students ranging 14-15 have been bullied verbally, and amongst this group, 25% have reported having been diagnosed with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)”. The high levels of PTSD prove that verbal bullying does have a substantial negative impact on one’s mental health. This psychological sickness causes people to have a fixed mindset while also forcing them to think that they are never good enough in the standard. This same idea was portrayed in Grendel. The dragon mockingly told Grendel that “if you withdraw, you will instantly be replaced” (86). This quote by the dragon states that if Grendel were to die or disappear, he would leave no memory or legacy, instead simply replaced by another vicious monster. Grendel initially left the Dragon with the comment “wait and see”; the mindset of proving him wrong. However, further encounters with humans began to put his mental reality into fantasy. Grendel began to doubt whether the dragon was right with him.

The two leading global issues portrayed in the fifth chapter of Grendel is discrimination and mental health. The problems are not only seen in Gardener’s depiction of the protagonist but in the leading and developing nations of our society. Both of these issues have created hue dilemmas for the characters and the people of the world.

Grendel Global Issue

Throughout the novel, Grendel is continuously portrayed as a segregated creature who is never considered as equal to the group. The detrimental global issue represented in this particular aspect of the novel is segregation. Whether it being racism or sexism, both of them fall under the same category. Currently, many developing and developed nations deal with the crisis of inequality and discrimination. According to a study conducted by the World Health Organization, nearly 85% of adults in developed countries had faced some aspect of discrimination in the workplace. With the current state of global affairs, qualified and trained professionals are looked down upon due to their childhood backgrounds or the race. Skilled female employers constantly battle the glass ceiling, where their careers come to a standing point due to their gender. These issues all pose critical threats to an equal and sustainable modern society.
Similarly, all of these dilemmas are shown in the novel Grendel. Grendel is by birth a monster. However, he has deep intellectual thoughts within himself that he is unable to express. He doesn’t speak the human language, and all humans fear him for his look. The novel states that he hoped that he had the strength and courage in himself to end it all, yet the hope that Grendel has that this “discrimination” and “injustice” would eventually come to an end.