San Diego Jewish Academy
9th Grade Humanities
Beowulf: Culminating Writing Assignment

Characteristics of a Hero | Writing tools

Choose one of the following writing prompts. Create a piece of writing one to two pages in length, in 11 or 12-point type, single spaced. Your draft is due Monday, 12/10. We will revise and edit in class, and the final will be due Wednesday, 12/12.

  1. Write the letter of thanks that King Hrothgar or his wife might have sent to Beowulf after his departure form Denmark.
  2. Write obituaries for Grendel, Grendel's mother, the fire-breathing dragon, and Beowulf. Include highlights of each character's life and achievements. Look in a newspaper for examples.
  3. Write a stream-of-consciousness narrative in the voice of an unnamed warrior, Dane or Geat, as he heard Beowulf battling Grendel, waited by the lake as Beowulf fought Grendel's mother, or fled the scene of Beowulf's battle with the dragon.
  4. Write a parody of Beowulf (like Sagoff's) in which you imitate the poetic style of the original but place the hero in a more mundane contemporary situation. For example, you might have Beowulf conquer a "monstrous" player on an opposing football team or battle someone whose breath is so bad that he or she seems like a fire-breathing dragon.
  5. Write a short story retelling the first two sections of Beowulf from the point of view of Grendel's mother, or the last section from the point of view of Wiglaf or the dragon. Remember to use first-person point of view like John Gardner does in Grendel.
  6. Write a news report on the death of Grendel. Be sure to tell who, what, where, when, how, and, if possible, why. Include remarks by eyewitnesses and perhaps by Beowulf himself.
  7. your choice

Characteristics of a Hero from Joseph Campbell's The Power of Myth (1988, New York: Doubleday) | Top

  1. A hero gives his or her life to something bigger than him/herself, to some higher end.
  2. A hero performs a courageous act, either physical or spiritual.
  3. A hero is usually someone from whom something has been taken or who feels there's something lacking in the normal experience available, or permitted, to members of his society.
  4. A hero embarks on a series of adventures to recover what is lost or to discover some life-giving information.
  5. The hero usually moves out of the known, conventional safety of his own life to undertake the journey.
  6. The hero undergoes trials and tests to see if he has the courage, the knowledge and the capacity to survive.
  7. A hero has to achieve something.
  8. A hero's journey usually consists of a departure, a fulfillment, and a return.

Check out these writing tools to help you create a powerful piece. | Top

Brainstorm - shows how different tools facilitate the brainstorming process.

Sense Web - starts the brainstorming process for creating show, not tell senses.

Design Expectations - standards of design for all projects.

How to Use Quotes - humm, what you do think, it's about using quotes in text. -

Re-vision - another check list, this time intended to correct your vision. -

Works Cited and Writing Style Guides - shows an example of a Works Cited listing and provides links to several writing style guides such as MLA and APA. -

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