Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Beowulf and the American Soldier

My daughter recently had to write and essay for her British Literature class comparing Beowulf to a modern day hero.  The hero she chose was a soldier.  I was so impressed with her essay that I asked her if I could share it.  I hope you enjoy it.

Jade's Essay:

At first it may seem like Beowulf would have little in common with a modern day, real life hero; however, there are more similarities than one might think.  Like Beowulf, a soldier hears the call of adventure and answers it.  They do things most people would only dream of doing, to protect people they don't even know.  While Beowulf has supernatural abilities, a soldier does not, yet they choose to risk their life anyhow.  Beowulf and a war soldier are both extremely brave and protect people, but there are differences between them as well.

A soldier who fights to protect his country is, like Beowulf, remarkably brave.  Both heroes complete trials most would not attempt. They answer the call and go into battle, knowing that they are putting their lives at risk.  Beowulf has superhuman powers to assist him in battle.  A soldier is just an ordinary human with extraordinary bravery.

Beowulf and his men heard that people were in danger, people they didn't even know, and traveled to help them.  Similarly, a soldier goes to war to protect his country, and many people he has never met.  Both heroes risk their lives to protect people from a threat.  The threats Beowulf fought were strong, dangerous monsters.  Although the threats facing a soldier are human, they can be just as scary.

Because the battles Beowulf and a soldier face occur in different times and places, there are some major differences in their experiences.  After he defeated Grendel and Grendel's mother, Beowulf was crowned king.  It is highly unlikely this would happen to an American soldier- America does not even have a king!  Beowulf fought his enemies with his bare hands and a sword.  A soldier fighting in the war today would probably use a gun or a similar weapon.  A soldier fights alongside an army, while Beowulf fights many of his battles alone.  These are just a few of the differences between their experiences.

These two heroes have both similarities and differences.  Beowulf has supernatural qualities that aid him in his battles.  A soldier, however, has no special powers, yet chooses to risk their life anyhow.  Both heroes put their own lives in danger in order to protect others.  While these heroes may have their differences, they are both extraordinarily brave, putting the lives of people they may not even know before their own.

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