Literature

How do epics like The Odyssey reveal a civilization's customs, manners, and values?

Thanks
-MC

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  1. From reading the Odyssey, what did you find out about the Trojan War, the Greek society of that time? What was important to Ulysses? How did he feel about his country, his family, his men?

    I do hope you have read this entire valuable piece of literature.

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  2. I only read what was in my book which just describes how Odysseus gets home. I didn't read anything about Ulysses or the Trojan War.

    -MC

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  3. It seems to me that the question answer is not restricted to epics. I can't find any literature that does not reveal customs, manners, and values. Even SciFi, like Journey to the Center of the Earth reveals those. Space Odyssey: 2001 is another. So I don't really understand why the question was focused on Greek epics. The answer lies in why we teach people to read: To form a basis for the continuation of civilization.

  4. Are you getting ready to write a book? =)

    Think about how hard Odysseus tried to get back home. (Some people have trouble with this since he was gone 20 years: 10 in the Trojan War and 10 finding his way home. However, the point in that epic is that he never headed anywhere else.)

    Think about his wife, who didn't give up on her husband even after he was gone for so many years. She didn't give in the the suitors.

    Think about O's son -- who was a baby when his father left for war -- what did he try to accomplish before his father did make it home?

    Why were those suitors so insistent that O's wife remarry? Why didn't they just leave her alone? Isn't it her choice whether she would remarry or not?

    When O did make it back to Ithaca, what did he do? Did he run right home and sweep his wife into his arms? Or what? How did he handle his return? Why the secrecy?

    What type of interactions were there between the humans and the deities?

    Keep thinking about these kinds of things and ask yourself what each person's actions say about his or her place in the family, his or her duties in that position, etc.

    And read through these; you should get more ideas:

    http://www.gradesaver.com/the-odyssey/study-guide/major-themes/

    http://www.gradesaver.com/the-odyssey/study-guide/character-list/

    http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/odyssey/themes.html

    http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/odyssey/canalysis.html

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