Weekly Journal 10/26

Thursday, October 19th

In class today we had our usual class discussion on our assigned readings of the Odyssey. We went over the midterm questions and I was glad to see that my answers were pretty good and almost all accurate. We also had our quiz on what we were meant to read. I really like taking our quizzes at the end of class and today I especially did because a lot of the quiz answers were said during class. I also like having them at the end of class because sometimes when reading, I don’t fully comprehend what is happening so I like when we go over it in class because it helps me understand the story as a whole.

Monday, October 23rd

Ok, so I admit that I did not do any work at all over the weekend. Which I honestly do feel bad about but it was my first homecoming after all, and I wanted to make the most of it. Thursday night, after class I went to visit my sister at her apartment at the University of Maryland then later that night I went to the fashion show and I obviously couldn’t read the Odyssey during that because the lights were out and I wouldn’t want to strain my eyes and the music was just too loud I wouldn’t be able to concentrate. Friday I had practice at 6am then at 12 was YardFest and it was just way too loud to be able to focus on reading for class. Saturday I went to the football game and the tailgate, and who reads at a football game right? And Sunday I was just so tired from the weekend’s festivities that I slept right through the day. So, obviously, I had absolutely no time to read books 9–12 of the Odyssey. I will try, however, to get the readings done by class tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 24th

I admit, I did not get the readings done. After finishing book 9 I fell right asleep. I had to improvise by reading sparknotes and shmoop on books 10–12. Sorry! After reading them , I realized that I am familiar with the stories of the journey of Odysseus. Mostly due to Percy Jackson and the Olympians. In the Percy Jackson stories, Percy, the main character goes through a lot of similar adventures that Odysseus does. For example, he gets trapped on Calypso’s island and when he insists that he needs to leave and get back to his girlfriend she asks, “Is she your Penelope?” Percy also ends up trapped by Circe and turned into a rat. He and his friends also get trapped at a place called ‘The Lotus Hotel’ which turns out to be the land of the lotus eaters, who make them forget their quest and keep them captive for three days which only feel like hours to them. I never knew where these stories originated from but now that I have the proper context it makes both the Odyssey and Percy Jackson and the Olympians more interesting. Odysseus really has gone through a lot on his journey to get home. It’s surprising to me that he even still has the drive or energy to try and get home. If Iwere in his position I would have given up after year 1. That just shows me his mental toughness as well as the love he has for Ithica and for his family that he left behind. The question for these books is

Why does Odysseus agree to tell his story to the Phaecians?

I think he agrees to tell the Phaecians his story so that they will understand his longing to get back home and will not have any doubts about helping him. His story has so many horrible events that he had to go through and it shows the Phaecians his determination and heroism. If I were in the position of the Phaecian king if I didn’t already want to help Odysseus get home, after hearing his story there would be absolutely no question in my mind that he is deserving of my help.

In class today we read a section from the Odyssey where Odysseus first reveals himself to the Phaecians and begins to tell his story. Dr. S gave us a handout of the section with both English and Greek translations. He challenged us to try and find names that we recognized within the Greek translation and in the end we put together the Greek alphabet.

Wednesday, October 25th

Today I read books 13 and 14 of “The Odyssey”. In book 13 Odysseus finally returns back home to Ithica with the help of the Phaecians. Honestly, I was a little surprised that he actually made it back home so easily considering everything that he had to go through in the past. In book 14 Odysseus stumbles upon the home of his old swineherd, Eumaeus. He doesn’t reveal himself to Eumaeus even though it is clear the swineherd is still very loyal to Odysseus. That is one thing I really appreciate about the characters of the Odyssey, they remain loyal to Odysseus even though he is believed to be dead. That, to me, is the ultimate judge of someone’s loyalty to another. Today we have two questions.

What does it mean to be ‘civilized’? Are the people that Odysseus encounters in his wanderings civilized? Why or why not?
Odysseus goes to the underworld to find out how to get home. But what else does he learn in the process, about himself, about how the world works, or about what’s important in life?

In my opinion, to be civilized means to have manners and act in a way that respects others and yourself. A civilized person follows rules and does not create something out of nothing. The google definition for civilized is “polite and well mannered”. Some of the people Odysseus encounters in his wanderings are civilized and others are clearly not. For example, Aoilos, god of the winds treated Odysseus and his men with civility. He housed them and helped them by giving them a way to get back home. This bag of winds part of the story was actually used in the SpongeBob movie to aid SpongeBob and Patrick into getting back home. An uncivilized person that Odysseus encountered is The Cyclops, Polyphemus. He was not welcoming to Odysseus and his men, nor was he polite or well mannered. I also do not think that Calypso is civilized either. Although she may have treated Odysseus with politeness and manners, she still did not allow him to leave her island because she was too concerned with her own self. Selfishness and neglect of others are two qualities that she possess and that to me makes her an uncivilized individual.

When Odysseus went to the underworld, he encountered souls, many of which he knew while they were alive. In the process of learning how to get home, he also learns of the death of his mother. This was probably the worst way to learn of the death of one of his loved ones. He also learns that he, in some ways, fears death. After being in the Underworld for so long, he begins to fear all of the souls asking things of him that he retreats back to his ships and sails away. I think he realizes that the things that are important in life are in the future.