Odysseus Would Be Horrible to Take on Roadtrips

So, the Odyssey.

It was really interesting reading this, especially right after Kierkegaard. Fear and Trembling is very analytical, and I found it very hard to read. I kept on having to stop and make notes to make sure I actually understood what Kierkegaard was saying. With the Odyssey, I had to make myself stop reading to make notes. I often found myself swept up in the narrative; especially during books 9-12 and 18-24.  The way the story was written made me feel as if someone was telling it directly to me; a sense of intimacy that I didn’t find in our previous readings.

I did find it hard to connect to the characters; especially Odysseus. I felt like the narrative was very in-depth about his emotions without actually giving me any context for them. I didn’t know much about him; I had no firsthand experience with him—aside from the stories everyone else told about him, I had no idea who he really was. I understand that the Odyssey is a continuation of sorts of the Illiad, and maybe if I had read that I would know more about Odysseus and therefore be more sympathetic to his plight. As it is, it took until book 9 for me to really begin to empathize with him.

Maybe I would have been more sympathetic if I hadn’t read the story; but instead listened to someone read/perform it. I find that having stories read aloud gives me a different perspective on how the narrative plays out. Since I have a tendency to skim text when I am reading, having things read to me forces me to slow down and really listen to how the author (or in this case, the translator) phrases things.

Overall, I greatly enjoyed the Odyssey; but I think I will have reread it again in order to fully appreciate some parts of it.

One thought on “Odysseus Would Be Horrible to Take on Roadtrips

  1. I agree–I have a hard time connecting to Odysseus. Maybe it’s because of the reading vs hearing thing, which is very interesting by the way (I hadn’t thought before about how I, too, sometimes skim text but you can’t do that when someone is telling you a story. Well, you can tune out here and there I guess?). Or maybe it’s because we don’t really see him or hear him until far into the text. Or maybe it’s because I just don’t feel like I have much of a connection to him generally, even after I get to know him in the text. I don’t want to say I don’t like him, but I don’t feel a great kinship to his way of speaking and acting. Many centuries between us and very different cultural/social positions as well, perhaps. But I still like the story!

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