Notice that Telemachus tells Athena (in disguise) that, “My mother tells me that Odysseus is my father./I don’t know this myself” (lines 223-33).
What pressure might this place on a child of famous hero? What does it reveal about his identity and how he understands himself? Find other specific moments in the text that support your discussion.
Notice the focus on “guests” and focus on hospitality. How do human characters respond to this? What about the Gods? When is it taken advantage of? When is it absolutely a key to survival?
What do you make of the way Athena steps into the events and uses magic to set up events for Odysseus?
Why is appearance important here, especially considering that Odysseus is not asked directly for his name?
Odysseus and his men encounter a series of surreal adventures. Pay special attention to all the details of the Kyklops episode. What does the cannibalistic monster symbolize? Why does he have only one eye? Why does Odysseus call himself “No Man”? Think about the use of the sheep to escape from the monster’s cave? What does it symbolize? Why does Odysseus reveal his name to the Kyklops? Is it wise to do so?
Notice that the poem starts of in the middle of the action. The Greeks called this “in media res” (in the middle of things), and it was a common way to start out plays.
What is the advantage of starting the poem in the middle of Odysseus’s journey? What might it the reason for starting “in the middle” as opposed the start of his journey?
Please show all work in your journal.
STEP 1: Find a passage about 10-12 sentences long that you do not fully understand but also grabs your attention. Carefully read and reread this selection before getting started.
STEP 2: Ask yourself, “What do you notice?” Write down a list of at least five textual features from the passage that you notice. You do not have to explain or fully understand these features.
STEP 3: Ask yourself, “What do you find strange or confusing?” Write down a list of at least three textual features from the passage that you notice. What makes each strange/confusing and why?
STEP 4: Rank, in order, the features from steps 2 and 3 that from most interesting to least interesting.
Step 5: Pick the top three items in your list for you to work on in your journal. As you start to write, ask yourself, “Why is this interesting?” and “So what?” Start with one, then on another until you have 600-700 words.
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