Modern Language Association
EN2201 Midterm Essay Assignment on the Odyssey
Choose any one essay question below.
In writing on the Odyssey, you are free to focus on a particular segment/Book of the poem or range through the entire poem (unless otherwise stated by the question).
In marking your essays, I will give emphasis to the originality and/or insightfulness of your essay.
The word length for this essay is 1500 words (maximum!). At the end of your essay, indicate the “word count” for your essay. The word count includes in-text citations and footnotes but not your list of secondary references (i.e. “Works Cited” in the MLA format).
Give your essay a title. Your title should reflect the argument you make in your essay. You can also offer a “clever” or witty title
Your essay should be submitted in MLA format, following the 7th or 8th edition of the MLA Handbook. (MLA refers to the Modern Language Association of America.) The MLA Handbook is available in the Central Library RBR. You may also use the guide given on the Purdue OWL website. Google “Purdue OWL” and see “Purdue OWL” “Research and Citation.”
The essay is due on midnight of 23 February (Wednesday), i.e. Wednesday midnight. This is during the midterm break. Upload a copy of your essay onto Luminus. I will create a submission folder closer to the submission date.
Feel free to consult me if you have questions about the assignment.
Choose any one Book from the Odyssey given below and write an essay that is based on material from this Book. Your essay must present a focused argument on the material from your chosen Book. (Note: You can focus on just a scene or segment from your chosen Book, i.e. you do not need to cover the entire Book. You are also free to use material from other Books for your discussion.)
Book 2 Book 11
Book 3 Book 13
Book 4 Book 24
Write an essay on the relationship between Odysseus and Penelope, making sure that your essay presents a focused argument on this relationship. (For instance, you may wish to examine how this relationship relates to one of the poem’s broader concerns.)
Write an essay that focuses on one or a few female characters in the Odyssey, making sure that your essay presents a focused argument on your chosen character(s).
Write an essay that focuses on the gods in the Odyssey, making sure that your essay presents a single focused argument on the gods in the poem. You may examine any aspect of the gods in the poem or any broad issue in relation to the gods.
For example, you could examine the role played by the gods or the relation between gods and men.
Write an essay on the subject of justice in the Odyssey, making sure your essay presents a focused argument on this subject.
Write an essay on the issue of knowledge in the Odyssey, making sure your essay presents a focused argument on this subject.
For instance, you can examine the relation between knowledge and totality in the poem.
In what way is the Odyssey a religious poem? Write an essay that responds to this question, making sure that your essay presents a single focused argument on the subject of this question.
Write an essay that focuses on Telemachus, making sure that you present a single focused argument in relation to this character. You can examine any aspect of Telemachus or any issue in relation to Telemachus.
For instance, you can examine the role played by the Telemachy, or the significance of the father and son relationship in the poem.
Write an essay that examines Odysseus’ heroism, making sure that you present a focused argument on Odysseus’ heroism. You may examine any aspect of Odysseus’ heroism or any issue in relation to Odysseus’ heroism.
For instance, you could explore how heroism is being re-written in the Odyssey. Or you can examine Odysseus’ guile and its relation to his ambiguous heroism.
Jenny Clay states: “Aristotle correctly calls the Odyssey ‘recognition throughout’ (Poetics).” (The Wrath of Athena 28)
With or without reference to the above statement, write an essay on recognition and/or identity, making sure that your essay presents a focused argument on this subject.
“What, how and why one eats is an important issue throughout the poem” (Katherine Callen King 83).
With or without reference to the quotation above, write an essay on the significance of eating and/or food in the Odyssey, making sure that your essay presents a focused argument on the subject of eating and/or food.
“The representation of the Phaeacians as supercivilized clarifies by contrast the quintessentially human community of Ithaca, in which Odysseus is able to be fully himself as he cannot be in the society of the Phaeacians.” (This quotation is adapted from a line in the reading by Seth Schein .)
With or without reference to the quotation above, write an essay that relates to any aspect of the Phaeacians, making sure your essay presents a focused argument on the Phaeacians.
Write an essay on the subject of language, narrative and/or the act of narration in the Odyssey, making sure that your essay presents a focused argument on this subject. Modern Language Association
“The epic gives form to a totality of life that is rounded from within” (p. 60; Lukacs Theory of the Novel).
Discuss the Odyssey in relation to the quotation above or to any other quotation by Lukacs on our worksheet. (If you wish, you may use more than one quotation on the worksheet for your discussion.)
Here is another quote by Lukacs: “The world is wide and yet it is like a home, for the fire that burns in the soul is of the same essential nature as the stars” (19). Modern Language Association
Discuss the Odyssey in relation to the idea of totality, making sure that you explain clearly what you understand by totality. Your discussion must present a focused argument on the subject of totality.
Discuss the Odyssey in relation to one or a few ideas in Matthew Arnold’s chapter on “Hebraism and Hellenism,” making sure your essay presents an argument on the Odyssey’s relation to certain ideas by Arnold.
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