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Free Essays on Homer’s Odyssey:Discussion of the Final Volume, Book XXIV

The Odyssey: A Discussion of the Final Volume, Book XXIV

Homer’s epic, The Odyssey is the classic story of the homecoming of the warrior and king Odysseus. It is one of the most enduring pieces of literature known to man. The lessons and tales from the epic are unforgettable.

However, there are several difficulties that the contemporary reader has with The Odyssey. These include issues such as difficult language, tangential stories, and the verse style it was written in. However, the focus of this paper is the final volume of the epic. This volume, Book XXIV, is usually noted as rather anticlimactic. Many believe that it is simply an epilogue (having the epic really ends in Book XXII when Odysseus killed the suitors.) Some scholars believe that the final book is not even Homeric. This essay shall discuss why Book XXIV is a good conclusion and how it relates to the rest of the story, which would provide a case for it being Homeric.

In Book XXIV, entitled “Warriors, Farewell,” Homer does not seem to want to have a grand ending, but rather neatly wrap up all of the loose ends. There are three major parts to this book, they include: the voyage of the suitors’ shades to Hades and dialogue between Agamemnon and Amphimedon; the story of Odysseus and Telemakhos visiting Odysseus’ father, Laertes; and the start of tje feud between the families of the suitors and the house of Odysseus and Laertes (which could have torn the country of Ithaca apart) which was stopped by the Zeus and Athena.

Homer starts Book XXIV in Hades as Agamemnon and Akhilleus greet the shades of the suitors that Odysseus killed in Book XXII. One of the shades tells Agamemnon of how Penelope was faithful and how Odysseus returned to take his revenge. Agamemnon, who upon his homecoming after the Trojan war was killed by his adulterous wife, was surprised by this tale. This is perfectly consistent with the earlier depiction of Agamemnon in Hades (Book XI) in which he tells Odysseus to beware of Penelope for she may have been unfaithful. This meeting between Agamemnon and the shades of the suitors makes sense since the story of Agamemnon was one often referred to during the epic. This sort of finishes off the Agamemnon story.

The introduction of the suitors’ shades also serves to yet again reinforce the theme of hospitality.

The Power of Personality in Toni Cade Bambara’s The Lesson

The Power of Personality in Toni Cade Bambara’s The Lesson

Developing character is something that comes with time. I believe that there are three major things that effect how people develop their character—where they are from, which includes their financial status; how they are raised; and the character of the people that have had the most influence on their lives. Sylvia, in Toni Cade Bambara’s “The Lesson,” is very much influenced by all of these factors. Sylvia’s living in the slums and being poor makes her defensive and judgmental. Her parents not being around much leaves her without the attention and discipline that children need to develop to their fullest. Lastly, her friends and Miss Moore also have a great influence on how Sylvia thinks and acts, and lead Sylvia to be observant but also angry and stubborn. All of these characteristics not only determine Sylvia’s personality, but also are the basis for why I think Sylvia will not apply Miss Moore’s lesson.

Sylvia’s being poor influences the way in which she sees other people and feels about them. Sylvia lives in the slums of New York; it is the only life she knows and can realistically relate to. She does not see herself as poor or underprivileged. Rather, she is content with her life, and therefore resistant to change. Sylvia always considered herself and her cousin as “the only ones just right” in the neighborhood, and when an educated woman, Miss Moore, moves into the neighborhood, Sylvia feels threatened. Ms. Moore is threatening to her because she wants Sylvia to look at her low social status as being a bad thing, and Sylvia “doesn’t feature that.” This resistance to change leads Sylvia to be very defensive and in turn judgmental. Sylvia is quick to find fl…

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…hrough.” Sylvia is very used to being the leader of the group, the toughest girl, and being able to constantly defend herself, compared to inferior, embarrassed, and unprotected by her often strong words. Although Sylvia realizes Miss Moore’s lesson, I believe that her quick judgment, stubbornness, and anger shown throughout the story will hold her back from using Miss Moore’s lesson to her advantage. Then again, her anger especially, may provoke her to want to overcome her setbacks. I think the ending is vague and left wide open for one to speculate exactly what choice Sylvia will make. According to my observations, Sylvia’s negative attitude outweighs her chance for success.

Works Cited:

Bambara, Toni Cade. “The Lesson.” Eds. Hans P. Guth and Gabriele L. Rico. Discovering Literature: Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1997.

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