Monday, March 11, 2013

Monday, March 11th, 2013

Dear Mythology Kids,

" Did I miss anything important?"
"No, we did nothing...nothing at all. In fact, we watched Hercules the entire period!"

If you missed class, visit with someone else prior to communicating with me, my young friends. If you know that you are going to miss class, then please communicate with me prior to your absence. 

1. Part 2 of "The Odyssey" exam was given to each student today. This is due on Friday. I have included it for you below. Please read your instructions, and then let me know if you have any questions. Cut and paste it as a word document, giving yourself ample room to record your answers.

The Odyssey Test
Part 2

Instructions: For each of the following excerpts from The Odyssey, please explain what is taking place.  In addition, identify a minimum of THREE LINES from each excerpt which prove your interpretation. In your explanation, make sure you fully explain the sections of text that you underlined. You may handwrite your responses to the right of each excerpt.

1. “…I thrust our stake in a bed of embers to make it red and hot and rallied all my comrades: “Courage—no panic, no one hand back now!”
….I dragged it from the flames, my men clustering around as some god breathed enormous courage into us. Hoisting high that olive stake with its stabbing pint straight into the monster eye they bore it hard.”

2. “Now with a sharp sword I sliced an ample wheel of wax into pieces, kneaded them in my strong hands and then five it to my comrades.
We were just off shore as far as a man’s shout will carry, scudding close, then I heard, “Come closer famous Odysseus-The Achean’s pride and glory-moor your sip-come closer! Never has a sailor passed our shores without becoming a wiser man!”
3. “The loyal shepherd led the way to the shelter, showed his guest inside and sat him down on a cot. Flinging over it the skin of a shaggy wild goat, broad and soft, the swine herd’s own good bedding. The king, delighted to be so well received, thanked the man at once:” My host-may Zeus and the offer gods five you your heart’s desire for the royal welcome you have shown me.”

 4. “A suitor would glance at his neighbor, jeering, taunting.
“Look at our connoisseur of bows!”
“Sly old fox—maybe he’s got bow’s like it, stored in his house.”

“Look how he twists and turns it in his hands!”
“The clever tramp means trouble.”
“I wish him luck in bending back that weapon!”
So they mocked!

5.”They rush and push me on, and I spin out my wiles. Athena inspired me to set up this loom in Odysseus’s royal hall. I shall lead them on”
“Young man, now that you believe Odysseus is no more go slowly, keen as you are to take his place, until I can complete Laertes web…so it won’t all fray and come to nothing.”

6. “You will find that the rocks lie lower, but they are so close together that there is not more than a bow—shot between them. A large fig tree full of leaf grows upon the rock, and under it the sucking whirlpool. Three times a day she vomits forth her waters, and three times a day she sucks them down again; see that your be not there when she is sucking, for if you are, Poseidon himself could not save you! Steer toward the other side, and drive by as fast as you can, for you had better lose six more than your whole crew.”
“Her sister is savage, extreme, rude cruel and invincible. There is no help for you and your men. Your best chance is to pass by her as quickly as you can, for if you linger about her rocks while you are putting on your armor, she will catch you with a cast of one of her heads, and snap up another five of your men.”

7. “He reached his dear dwelling, at last after twenty years. As he did, his old companion lifted his head and pricked his ears. The moment his master appeared he knew him, but he had no strength to drag himself even a little toward him. Odysseus knew him, and brushed away a tear. He dared not go to him for fear of arousing suspicion, and as he turned away that moment the old companion died.

2. Each student received his/her "Date-line Troy" or Monologue back from the peer evaluator. Please revise your assignment for FRIDAY.  

3. "Personal Odyssey" is due on TUESDAY, MARCH 19th. Please see the assignment explanation below. Stop by the room so you can see previous student's examples.

Ithaca:” Personalized
Due Date________________________

Introduction: The purpose of this assignment is to help you see yourself in the mirror that mythology hold up top each of us. Times have changed and so has the pace of your lives; yet, you are confronted with the same choices today as when Homer decided to put the story of the wanderings, tribulations, and homecoming of Odysseus into his own words. I expect you to identify with Odysseus by using his hero's journey as a paradigm for exploring the meaning of your own lives.

Catalyst: The following poem, Ithaca, by Constantine Cavafy is the catalyst for your assignment. Let me share it with you, prior to explaining your assignment more fully.

When you set out on your journey to Ithaca,
pray that the road is long,
full of adventure, full of knowledge.
The Lestrygonians and the Cyclops,
the angry Poseidon -- do not fear them:
You will never find such as these on your path,
if your thoughts remain lofty, if a fine
emotion touches your spirit and your body.
The Lestrygonians and the Cyclops,
the fierce Poseidon you will never encounter,
if you do not carry them within your soul,
if your soul does not set them up before you.

Pray that the road is long.
That the summer mornings are many, when,
with such pleasure, with such joy
you will enter ports seen for the first time;
stop at Phoenician markets,
and purchase fine merchandise,
mother-of-pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
and sensual perfumes of all kinds,
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
visit many Egyptian cities,
to learn and learn from scholars.

Always keep Ithaca in your mind.
To arrive there is your ultimate goal.
But do not hurry the voyage at all.
It is better to let it last for many years;
and to anchor at the island when you are old,
rich with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting that Ithaca will offer you riches.

Ithaca has given you the beautiful voyage.
Without her you would have never set out on the road.
She has nothing more to give you.

And if you find her poor, Ithaca has not deceived you.
Wise as you have become, with so much experience,
you must already have understood what Ithacas mean.

Constantine P. Cavafy (1911)

            This poem is about knowing oneself in victory and adversity, and recognizing that the moments of adversity are merely stepping stones to the final destination.....Ithaca. The wisdom you obtain with each step reveals the destination's true meaning.
           So, what does your assignment entail? I am asking you to write your own Ithaca; yes, a poem where you identify your Ithaca, along with the Poseidons that thwart your path, and the Athenas that help bring you home. I will give you a list of required elements. Let me share a previous example with you.
           The following example was written by Ryan Bailey, a former student, who graduated in 2000.

Nimble Fingers
By Ryan Bailey

I am Ryan of the nimble fingers.
Oh Muse, guide and inspire me
to invoke tears like Orpheus.
The ebony and ivory jewels
will inspire friends and foes alike.
This is my Ithaca, to amuse, mesmerize and
create melodious sounds with my nimble fingers.

Oh Muse, guide me through the
rough seas of  competition. I will place wax
in my ears, never to hear the Siren's song tempting me to doubt myself.  I hear them luring me. Their deadly sweet voices singing that I must give up, that I must jump to them, that my Ithaca is only a dream, never realized.   Their voices must be resisted, or the desire will perish within me.

Oh, Muse, grant me the power to avoid the temptation of the Lotus. It comes in the form of fleeting urges that give me dreams of euphoria; yet, when I awake from the television, video games, and films, I am reminded that so much time has been lost.
Avoidance of such temptation must occur, or Ithaca will never come to be.

Oh Muse, protect me from the angry Poseidon, who takes the form of my father. He rears his head in the form of disappointment.  I remind him, that he, too, once had a father who disapproved of his Ithaca, play professional tennis.  Athena comes to my aide in the form of my mother, who reminds me that my Ithaca is attainable! Listen, she says. Prepare, she reminds. Practice, she rehearses. Always followed with the welcoming arms of a loved one not seen in many years.

Oh, Muse, grant me the power to never allow discouragement to defeat my purpose. The voyage is long, full of obstacles, but I am Ryan, of the nimble fingers, assured, bold, aware, and ready
for the journey.
1. Your Ithaca must begin with an epithet.
What is an epithet, Crampton?
Ino, of the slim ankles is an epithet. Zeus, the Thunderer is an epithet. Poseidon, the Earthshaker is an epithet. Athena, of the gray eyes is an epithet. An epithet is a descriptive word or descriptive phrase.

Your epithet may pertain to an intrinsic characteristic or an extrinsic characteristic.

2. Your poem needs to be a minimum of four stanzas. More is acceptable.

3. Your must relate your own obstacles to TWO of those faced by Odysseus.

4. You must identify your Ithaca in the first stanza.

5. You must identify your Athenas (those that assist you in reaching your Ithaca.)

6. You must identify your Poseidons (those that attempt to thwart your goal.)

7. You must reference other Greek characters and connect them to your subject matter.

8. You must include at least one allusion within the poem. The allusion can relate to any aspect of your Ithaca. For example, Ryan Bailey uses the allusion, ebony and ivory jewels to indicate the piano keys. He also alludes to Penelope embracing Odysseus in association to the love received by his supportive mother.

9. Each of the above requirements must be indicated using BOLD TYPE in your poem

10. Give your piece an appropriate title based on content.

11. Your poem must be typed, 12-16 point font, submitted in a fashion that is aesthetically pleasing and illustrates your Ithaca. I will share some previous examples to assist you with this part of the assignment

Please let me know if I can assist you in any way.
May the power of Athena be with you!

NOTE: Homework Coupons are due on Tuesday, the 19th! If you have a any missing assignments, please decide which one will benefit you the most and then submit the coupon with the assignment on the 19th. 


Your FINAL exam!

Dear Mythology Kids, It's nice to "see" you again. Let me offer some "study guidance" for your final exam. Please ...