The Odyssey and Me

9 Mar

I sometimes wonder how much time other students have spent with Homer’s Odyssey. I once made the mistake of taking the honors program Poetry of Exile special topics, which focused soley on the Odyssey and Beowulf, shortly before taking a Myth and Symbol class, based on the Odyssey and its various manifestations throughout literature.

But I have to admit, despite all of my time with Homer’s text, I only recall snippets that I better understood throughout my study of the epic poem. I fully recall the Siren episode in addition to the first episode where we meet a desperate Telemachus who tries so hard to defend his home and his mother against a plethora of suitors. Perhaps, because I was still a teenager at the time, I best understood Telemachus’ position. Now fully grown, he must try to follow in the footsteps of his father, but a father he never truly knew. Even at this point in my life, I better relate to someone who is a victim of the uncertainly of adulthood (aka Telemachus) rather than the family patriarch who is trying to get home (Odysseus).

A map of the places featured in the Odyssey (courtesy of

I think perhaps the most disappointing part of spending so much time with this text and not fully absorbing every aspect of it is that I would have loved to find a profound connection between the Odyssey and my thesis text, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. There must be a connection somewhere, but I really cannot outright think of one that wouldn’t constitute “stretching it.”

Dearest readers, if you can find any connection between these two texts whatsoever (no matter how small), I would be eternally grateful if you left me a comment.

2 Responses to “The Odyssey and Me”

  1. AAS March 12, 2010 at 3:40 pm #

    Oh we had fun in those classes though! You know my love of Odyssey! I have only read Frankenstein once, so I would have to go back and read again. What about the familial structure of Odysseus vs characters in Frankenstein? The family element between Odysseus and his men? I’ll think about it and get back to you.

  2. alainarg March 12, 2010 at 3:45 pm #

    All good ideas, Allison. Maybe dysfunction is present in both families? I just feel like at my thesis presentation I will be asked about the connection to Pell. In which case, I don’t really have one. Oh well.

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