Week 9: A New Appreciation
Today was spent mostly summarizing and building on the events that took place in the first 4 books of The Odyssey. Even though I read and understood the books pretty well, it was good to discuss this with classmates because they picked up on a lot of nuances that I missed. Above that, the professor is super knowledgeable about the material, and he does a great job of guiding us in the right direction to come to the right conclusions ourselves, and allows us to have new revelations without feeding them to us. I also appreciate it because it empowers us to be confident in our findings, which is something that students always appreciate, and something we honestly don’t get enough of. I could write an entire blog about how important it is for an educator to champion students, and the difference that it makes on their performance and development, but that is another blog for another day.
It was fun for me to discuss Menelaus and Helen’s different versions of their memories of Odysseus, and in effect, Helen, because I still dislike her, and am glad that I’m not the only one. Something about her just, ugh. And I got a good laugh out of Menelaus drunkenly calling her out in front of company, because she deserves to be told about herself (lol).
I also like the way our class discussions flow, because as a class, don’t shy away from talking about things that are yet to happen. I don’t know why, but whenever I am discussing literature in an academic setting, I prefer to bring up future events so that we can place what has already taken place in the context of what is bound to happen. Not only that, but when reading any classic literature, I feel like anything that can be autosearched in google shouldn’t be off limits, so I appreciate the fact that no one is too sensitive to have the ending ruined for them.
Takeaway from this class: Helen chould be ridiculed in every book…I will never be done laughing at her. It was a really tame class, but the simplicity of it allowed me to really identify what I like about it.
Reading and Studying — 10/21/15
I read Book 6 on the metro, on my way to work. It was kind of hard, and I rushed a little because I’ve realized that my usual metro ride is only 16 minutes, and if I’m really trying to read to retain than I read a little slower than it would take to finish in that amount of time, so I ended up skimming it over again on the metro ride home. I didn’t get back to campus until about 11pm, and I went straight to the Ilab to map out some quick summaries of books 1–5. After repeatedly half-reading Sparknotes through my exhaustion and realizing that nothing’s really sticking, I started to just write the names like I usually do to try to trigger my memories of what happened, and I felt like I was doing a good enough job, so I packed up and headed to bed only half confident in my knowledge, but fully confident in the comforts and restorative powers of my mattress.
Book 6 was cool, but I’m not sure what it was that I liked about it. I liked meeting Nausicaa, and I think it may have been because I relate to her as the youngest daughter, even though I’m not nearly as concerned with finding a husband as she is (even though I’m sure that is purely circumstantial). Athena sending her the dream made me laugh, because Athena is really dedicated to getting her beloved Odysseus home safely, and her dedication is obvious through the lengths that she goes to. It is also interesting to see the amount of planning that goes into making sure that everything falls into place the way that it needs to. The actions played out exactly the way that Athena had set them up in the dream, so it was nicely to see something pan out so smoothly in the midst of Odysseus’ hardships. I also have a sneaking suspicion that I enjoyed this book because the scene of him coming up on them washing clothes reminds me of the scene in The Sisterhood of The Traveling Pants (the books that were a a turning point in my life) when Kostos comes across Lena in the grove in Greece, and their tumultuous teenage romance begins. Even though I know Odysseus and Nausicaa are not meant to be, the 8 year old reading the Young Adult series during recess in fourth grade inside of me refuses to disassociate scaring someone at a small body of water with love. Aside from that, the xenia that was displayed in this book (and the coming books) is astounding, because I know if a strange older man showed up in the nude while my friends and I were doing chores, he would not be well received. I love reading about how well people are treated, because I believe that no matter who someone is, they still deserve to be treated courteously.
On a minor note, I love how they basically say that he needs Arete’s aproval to do anything, and I’m fully in support of the women calling the shots.
Takeaway from this time: I should probably use my time wiser, but I’m still getting used to doing schoolwork in between commitments. I’m not super ready for tomorrow’s quiz, but somethings gotta give.
Studying and Day 19–10/22/15
I spent the last 30 minutes before class started trying to study, and for some reason, I couldn’t seem to focus. I knew that I was well versed in the things that I knew the night before, but I also knew that there were little things that I was forgetting. This was the first quiz that I wasn’t confident in as I took it. Every question made me hesitate, and I changed my answers often, which was very unusual for me. I also skipped a few questions, one of which was a question that I had figured would be on the quiz and made the decision not to study. Even though I still did pretty good, it taught me that I should really trust my gut and prepare like I know I should.
Today’s class was something special. I don’t know if it was enlightning, or inspirational, or what, but I definitely needed it. Even though the professor was afraid of it being preachy, it didn’t come off that way at all. It really felt like he cared enough about us as students, and as people going through a tough transitionary period anyway, to share some of the things he’s learned with us. I honestly don’t know what direction he wanted to go with the lecture, but I was happy with where we ended up. It started out talking about what is involved in colecting something, and we then started talking about fields of study, and somewhere in there, it went from being a lecture on literature to a life lesson on finding and sticking with your passion. I have always been a sucker for cheesy, inspirational messages, so I really appreciated hearing one from someone I respect and genuinely like. It also helped that we started with a discussion on education, which is something that I’m passionate about.
I could actually write a book on everything that I gained from that 30 minute venture into the meaning of life, which I’ll refrain from now, but it was greatly appreciated, and really refreshed and motivated me, which I need often since I tend to get lackadaisical. Also, the best classes to me are the ones that steer away from Greek Lit, because I feel like they represent the importance and power of studying classics the most. It allows us to view the world differently, and use what we are reading to as a guide to all of the different choices you can make in life.
We may have talked about The Odyssey at some point, but I honestly don’t remember at all.
Takeaway from this class: Follow your passion.
Reading — ???
I was deathly sick this weekend, and didn’t leave my room. I know I read all of the assigned books on my phone in the bed sometime within the 2 day period, but I can’t pinpoint what day or time I read them. I honestly could have gone without it this weekend and thought of some excuse (or probably gotten a legitimate medical one), but when you are too tired to get out of bed and turn on your light or computer, you kind of get married to your phone because it is consistently attached to the charger, and you can only take so much social media before you feel the need to be productive (or at least I did this weekend). Some of them started to blend together, but the one that sticks out is Odysseus encounter with The Cyclops because I’m so familiar with that.
At one point in my weekend long respite, I had a dream about a film we made my freshman year of highschool about The Odyssey, where I directed my friends in a dramatic retelling of Odysseus and his men in a few of his obstacles. I specifically remember the scene with Polyphemus, because I got some (what I thought were) really cool camera angles by laying on the ground of the playground behind my school to get video of my friend with her bangs combed over one of her eyes. Super random, but it’s what I associate with The Odyssey.
Looking back at the books now (with the help of Sparknotes), a few things stand out to me. For one, there was even more hospitality shown by Alcinous, and even though I’ve gushed over it enough already, I’m still taken aback/impressed with how they treated visitors. The sports games confused me, but I guess it made sense because they did occur in The Iliad. It was interesting that every time the bard sang, the only one to see Odysseus overcome with emotion was Alcinous, but I think it also speaks to his epimeleia, because he always accommodated Odysseus’ emotional needs.
Maybe it’s because I’ve read it before, but the storied of the Lotus-Eaters and The Cyclops seem a little anticlimatic. They are a lot shorter than I remember, but that may be because of what we are focusing on. When I studied it before, we would focus on the content and plot of the poem, while now, I feel like we are focusing on the themes and culture of the ancient Greeks, so I am able to focus less on what actually occurs, and instead spend time finding meaning init. Or I could be thinking too deeply, and both of those stories really are actually just short.
Book 10 also seemed shorter to me, but only because I always considered all of those trials to be separate events, so reading about them in conjunction with each other confused me a little bit.
Takeaway from this reading: I’m kind of sad, because I feel like I missed out on reading the most action packed sequences because I couldn’t really give them the attention the deserved. Also, if I didn’t know before, I now know that no matter the circumstances, I will always be a good student.
Blogging — 10/26/15 (10/287/15)
Another Monday night in the iLab after work. At this point, I may as well give up trying to deny my procrastination and just rock out. A large chunk of it is that I don’t really get productive until the AM, so I wait until everyone else is asleep to really hunker down and accomplish what I need to do. I’m really sad that a large chunk of my weekends work is hazy to me, because I really have no memory of reading over the weekend besides a bright phone screen shining in my face, so I feel like I’m missing out.
Besides that, I really enjoyed revisiting this week’s lectures, because together they have been my favorites. They were pretty much on opposite sides of the spectrum as far as lesson plans go, but I loved them because they showed the different directions that we can go when studying just one simple thing. It seems like every week, I find a new reason to appreciate the course.
Takeaway from blogging: Honestly, the same thing as every week. I look forward to blogging, and it never feels like work to me, no matter how early into Tuesday morning my work takes me.
2. Nausicaa is much more innocent then Calypso and Penelope. While Calypso was ruled by sexual desire, and Penelope by her loss of a companion, Nausicaa seems to want to find a husband to please her father. Also, it seems like the thought hadn’t crossed her mind until Athena planted it. Lastly, she is much more helpful than them. Whether it be because she is a dutiful daughter who had the values of hospitality instilled in her, or she was motivated by her naive desire for Odysseus, she does not hesitate to help him in his time of need.
3. The Phaeacians are heroic to me because of their nature. They openly accept and take care of Odysseus, despite his unknown identity. They also are prepared to help him in any way possible, which makes them admirable because they seem to be inherently good people.
2. I’m not sure if I am missing the concrete answer in the text, but it seems like Odysseus tells the story because he is overwhelmed by the hospitality he has been shown. Before he begins, he tells them that nothing is more pleasant than being well received, and although he doesn’t necessarily want to relive his hardships, it seems like he does it out of graciousness because they have treated him so well.
3. To our standards, they are not really civilized, because they violate basic human codes by practicing cannibalism, murdering, etc. Also, Odysseus often said he wants to see if people are “lawless,” and everyone that he encounters seems to be. They are all civilizations that trick their guests so that they may do what they want with them, and that definitely doesn’t coincide with our definitions of being civilized. It is also preety easy to classify them as uncivilized because we are meeting them in the midst of seeing the Phaeacian people being so hospitable, and because we know that Odysseus’ home life is especially “civilized”.