The Odyssey

This is my first time reading The Odyssey by Homer, and starting Homer’s tale was definitely a terrifying task for me. I wasn’t sure of how I would be able to handle the vast amount of Greek mythology contained in this particular book, but I actually managed to understand most of what was happening. With that being said, reading this novel was a new and surprisingly fun experience. With regards to The Odyssey itself, I gained much insight on the challenges that Odysseus was forced to endure. Throughout the course of the novel, Odysseus is required to overcome multiple challenges if he wishes to finally return to his homeland of Ithaca and reunite with his loved ones. The Odyssey reveals how the gods retain all power over the mortals, holding much power over many circumstances. Though perceived as a glorious, strong and superior king notable for his contributions during the Trojan War, Odysseus expresses the underlying pain and grief he feels, as he is constantly being tested and challenged. As his hopes of reaching his homeland becomes seemingly unreachable, the reader begins to learn of Odysseus’ vulnerability to the gods, as well as the power they have over him. At points in the novel he conveys a sense of defeat when he stays with Calypso for a prolonged amount of time; or when he grows powerless upon losing many of his shipmen during the journey home.  He grows defenseless and tiresome of the constant uphill battle he is forced to face, thus almost leading to his defeat and consequent demise. However, Athena constantly helps Odysseus on his journey, and provides him with the strength and optimism to push through his trials. Her role throughout Odysseus’ journey is of great importance, for at the end of the novel she expresses the immense power that the gods have. Athena manages to end the on-going feud in such a simple manner and restores peace between Odysseus and the others. Homer’s piece evidently explores not only the journey of a man’s life, but also that of his family. Aside from journeying with King Odysseus, we additionally grow to understand the affect that his absence has had on Telemachus, Penelope, and all those seemingly significant in his life.

About Me!

My name is Neia Balao and I am a first year Arts student. I am from Vancouver, BC and currently live on campus for this school year. Prior to UBC, I attended Little Flower Academy, which is an all girls high school. Asides from school, family is an immensely important part of my life. I have three brothers; Luch who is 29, Eric who is 23, and Tommy who is 7. My brothers mean the world to me, and I could not imagine my life without them.

Furthermore, my interests include reading, spending time with my family and friends, playing hockey, and travelling. With regards to reading, I love being able to set aside all other thoughts, and simply just get lost in a good novel. As previously stated, family is of dear importance to me, and spending quality time with my friends is also something I love to do. Additionally, I have been playing ice hockey for the Richmond Girls Association for about seven years now, and it is something that I am truly passionate about. Some say, “hockey is my life,” and I can definitely vouch for that statement. Moreover, throughout the course of my life, I have been fortunate enough to explore different parts of the world, including Asia, Europe, North America, and South America. I usually go on these trips with my mother, and I am so privileged to visit such beautiful places with the woman most important to me. I recently came back from a trip to the Netherlands, as well as Germany this summer. Exploring different parts of the world is also a passion of mine, and something that I intend to continue to do over the years.

Only recently graduating from high school, I am still quite nervous about what university has to offer. However, in spite of my fears, I know that I will eventually get the hang of things. I hope that this year will be a great one, especially in Arts One.

– Neia Balao