October 19th 11:10 am- 12:30 pm- In class
Though homecoming festivities were on the way, there was work to be done and class to be held for Dr. Sandridge. Nevertheless, we discussed the class’s reading of books 7 and 8. We learn about Odysseus and how he is currently with the Phaniocian people. I like the Phaneician people already simply because of the fact that they are somewhat matriarchal, and that their queen Arete is seen as the most wise to go and consult and she has the utmost respect on their island of anyone. In class, we discussed her as more of a wise judge.
October 22nd 8 pm- 11 pm
Everyone is now in recovery state from Homecoming and it is once again that time to return to the Chicago Homer and read the epic Odyssey. After such as dramatic entrance we now move on to discuss the books 9–12. These books are very eventful. In Book 9, Odysseus finally announces his name to the Phanecians and is going to tell them the very long story of his journey home and how he ended up here. First he and his men did something stupid as usual, and in my book notes I don’t remember exactly what it was but I feel like it had to have been taking crops or cattle. Because of this the God’s sent their wrath upon Odysseus including Zeus. (Sidenote: I love adventure stories like this where they have to make stops and battle different obstacles). Their first stop was the island of the lotus-eater, and interestingly enough this exact scene took place in the first “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” movie, where it was modernized to take place in a casino. I have actually read the first Percy Jackson and the Olympians book, and I’m not sure if that’s this particular event really happened in that book or another book in the series. Anyway, their next obstacle was the cyclopes, which was another scene in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians movie, which means Rick Riordan did a great use of Greek everything in these novels, good job Rick. I find the legend of the cyclopes so interesting because I don’t think that there is similar creature quite like it, in any other culture. What made the Greeks come up with this monster with one eye? Odysseus is being prejudice and basically keeps reiterating that the cyclopes are a barbaric species, and though they eat humans, he could still be nice. I don’t know why they thought it would be a good idea to come in and eat the cyclopes cheese, other than the principle of oikos. I also noticed that these few books were the first time that cheese was mentioned a lot, and I notice this because I love cheese. So sadly the cyclops ate some of Odysseus comrades *sheds a tear, even though 1,000 more of them are gonna die*. Every character in these ancient Greek poems are get tricked by to the most simple things, and it is wine and sex, even the cyclops is susceptible. I feel bad, that they impaled his eye with something burning hot, it just sounds for gruesome. But the worst part of this whole story is that THEY WERE ALMOST OUT AND SAFE BUT ODYSSEUS IS DUMB AND HAD TO FLAUNT HIS ENORMOUS EGO AND TELL POLYPHEMUS HIS NAME AND GET HIS ENTIRE JOURNEY HOME CURSED MORE THAN IT WAS BEFORE AND POSEIDON NOW HATES HIM, GOOD JOB. I also want to mention that isn’t it kind of a weird that Poseidon mated with a cyclops since there scene as monsters? So the God’s just mate with anything? But it makes sense because in Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Percy is the son of Poseidon, and in the second movie, he learns he has a half brother that is a cyclops.
Moving on to Book 10, they have reached the island of Aeolia, and Aeolus and his family seem to be having a grand and blessed life on their island. They ended up staying there for a month (why do all the stops they take, last so long), and he gave Odysseus and his comrades a bag of winds to carry them home. But, as usual Odysseus’s comrades are idiots and let the bag go, cause they thought it was a bag of gold, and now they returned home. Honestly, a lot of these warriors deserve the fate that they meet, because they might be the dumbest I’ve seen from all the warrior in these two epics. But, it’s so interesting to know that the “bag of winds” comes from Greek mythology, because that was even used in the Spongebob Squarepants movie, and of course they let the bag go by accident too. But, by reading these epics, particularly The Odyssey , you see how much Greek culture is embedded into our Western society. Now they try to return to Aeolus and receive more help, but Aeolus is basically telling them “you’re cursed, and I don’t mess with bad spirits”, much like a black grandmother would do. They come to the island of Circe, which is a name I have heard before in t.v. and movies, but I can’t exactly remember where. Eurylochus is the only one with common sense, to not trust the “mystical goddess living in the woods, after we have been cursed”, and I find it strange that out of all the animals she could hve turned them into, she turned them into pigs, I wonder if that holds any significance. The men in these epics are so SIMPLE-MINDED, this goddess has turned all his friends into pigs, and just because Hermes gave him a counter potion, he thinks everything is good between him and Circe. And SECONDS before he sleeps with Circe, he reminds her to change his comrades back to humans…..how kind of him. The male figures in ancient Greek stories, will literally have sex with anything, anytime, anywhere. They stay there for a year, and now I understand why Dr. Sandridge says that you sometimes wonder, just how bad does Odysseus want to go home, because it seems like he is taking his sweet time to me. But Circe, does help them most of the time, and tells him he has to go to Hades. Don’t get me started on Elpenor…..they are all so stupid.
October 23rd, 9 pm- 11 pm
In Book 11, things get really interesting as they head to the beautiful and welcoming underworld. Lots of Greek stories involve the hero visiting the underworld, there are only two that I can recall, Percy Jackson and the Olympians and the Hercules movie (Disney version). But, I like that although there underworld is still a dangerous place, it’s not as condemned and evil as Hell. Its a place where all souls go “good” or “bad”, and you can actually go there and make it out alive. Odysseus talks to so many people I cannot list them all. But it’s weird that they are drinking blood in order to see him, it’s almost like they’re vampires or something, or better yet, Zombies! He gets to see his mother, whose death was very sad. Talked to Achilles, and Agamemnon who I particularly feel bad for, he’s so hurt he doesn’t even want Odysseus to trust his wife. Ajax is still salty because he has such a huge ego it cost him his life ( I can’t with these warriors). But everybody cam through from Hercules, to Anticholus, even Oedipus mother came up to him. When the people who are suffering are discribed it reminds me of Dante’s Inferno, and though I have not read it, I know what it is about and all these different types of cruel internal suffering had a connection to me.
Book 12, might be my favorite book so far, just because of the mythological creatures that they encounter. I find the sirens so intriguing because I’ve seen them mentioned in many books and movies I’ve seen, and they remind me of mermaids, and the two have a somewhat combined legend or these beautiful sea women who enchant men and kill them. As they go through the two cliffs I also like the two monsters Scylla and Charbydis, in my mind Charbydis might have been the Ancient Greek exaggeration and explanation of whirlpools, just a thought. As they describe Scylla, all I can think of is a dragon, or the four-headed dog that is also a monster in harry potter, I’m not sure if Scylla is suppose to look human-like. Moving on, I think that it was good that Odysseus didn’t tell his men, that six of them would have to die at the hands of Scylla, it would have caused panic and disarray and they would have had to die anyway. So they make it through this and all they have to do is stay away from Thrinacia, but noooooo once again Odysseus men, decide to be stupid and Odysseus agrees with their stupidity and they stop on the island they have been warned about. THEN, they decided to stay there so long that the rations Circe gave them begin to run out. There are so many ways they could have avoided this faith, that I am bewildered that this eve happened. And now they kill Hyperion’s cattle, as Odysseus is too far away to stop them. I used to think Eurylochus was the only one with good sense, but I take that back after he was willing to die for some beef….. But all of the weak links were now killed off and Odysseus finally made it to Ogygia.
October 24th 11:10 am-12:30 pm- In class
I will start off by saying that I was not my best self on this day and mentally present in the class. But we began class talking about books 9–12 and reviewing Odysseus’s journey. We then looked at the Greek passage where Odysseus announce his identity to the Phaneicians and how significant that was. We were honestly just practicing Greek and how to read an decipher what the words were and what was each line saying. We also reviewed the Greek Alphabet and all it’s letter’s and meanings. Just a lot of Greek.
October 25th 10 pm-12 am
It is now time for Books 13 and 14, which I feel weren’t as eventful. In book 13, they are sending Odysseus off to his homeland. I feel bad that the Gods punished the nice Phanecians for helping Odysseus and turned their ship to stone. Now they will never want to welcome another outsider, even more than they did before. Odysseus is frenzied and confused, because of the mist that Athena has put up, so he isn’t able to recognize his homeland. As Athena is in disguise as a young boy, he’s making up a whole fake background story. But when she reveals her identity they begin to plot about the demise of the Suitors and she says she is going to get Telemachus. So the next few books should be really interesting.
Book 14 was quite boring to me, and it might have something to do with the fact that I was on the edge of knocking out for the night. But Odysseus, dressed as a beggar, meets his Swineherd Eumaeus, who has 360 pigs. Eumaeus refused to believe that Odysseus is alive even when Odysseus (in disguise) tells him so. Yet, he is still extremely loyal to Odysseus and takes great care of his pigs and keeps everything in tip top shape for Odysseus, he’s like his number one fan. He is so convinced that Odysseus will never return they make a bet about. Odysseus is warmed by Eumaeus’s loyalty to him, so I wonder if he will be a future ally when they take down the suitors, or if they he will reward him in the end when this is all said and done.