The Beowulf story has its roots in a pagan Saxon past, but by the time the epic was written down, almost all Anglo-Saxons had converted to Christianity. As a result, the Beowulf poet is at pains to resolve his Christian beliefs with the often quite un-Christian behavior of his characters. This tension leads to frequent asides about God, hell, and heaven—and to many allusions to the Old Testament throughout the work. In the end, however, the conflict proves simply irresolvable. Beowulf doesn’t lead a particularly good life by Christian standards, but the poet cannot help but revere him. Though some of Beowulf’s values—such as his dedication to his people and his willingness to dole out treasure—conceivably overlap with Christian values, he ultimately lives for the preservation of earthly glory after death, not for entrance into heaven. Though his death in the encounter with the dragon clearly proves his mortality (and perhaps moral fallibility), the poem itself stands as a testament to the raw greatness of his life, ensuring his ascension into the secular heaven of warrior legend.
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The essay portion of the GED will require you to compose a short essay on a pre-selected topic. The essay will be either a narrative, descriptive, or persuasive essay. Narrative essays require you to tell a story from your own life. Descriptive essays require you to paint a picture for your audience by focusing on individual characteristics. Persuasive essays require you to express your personal opinion on a topic. Each essay type will require a strong thesis and several well-developed paragraphs. You may ONLY write on the assigned topic, so it’s helpful to practice writing several essays from multiple practice topics. Set a timer for 45-minutes, and try your hand at one of the GED essay topics below!